Thursday, September 11, 2008

City of Encinitas Votes to Ban Plastic Bags

While over the last year we have been posting stories about cities around the world taking action against plastic, our Rise Above Plastics group in San Diego County has been working diligently on convincing the City of Encinitas here to take action as well. Surfrider Foundation volunteers collected close to 2,000 signatures from residents in support of a ban, and last night the City Council voted to adopt a phased in ban, aimed at getting people to use reusable bags, not single-use bags of any kind. The ordinance (yet to be drafted) would prohibit plastic bags and place a fee on paper bags. Stores could opt to sell plastic bags, but could not give them out for free.

From day one, our group faced an uphill battle in Encinitas, since only 2 out of the 5 council members are legitimately "green" and we did not know if we would get that crucial third vote. What was so heartening to me was the statement by one of the council members that he changed his mind to be in favor of the ban after hearing public testimony, read about it here. Surfrider had put the call out for people to come out to support the ban, and the 15 people that spoke in favor of the ban did so eloquently and convincingly, covering all angles. This was truly a grass roots effort.

Since I spearheaded this effort, people have been giving me congratulations, but I don't feel this is a personal victory. Rather, it is a victory for our RAP campaign, our community, the environment, and all of the volunteers who poured time and commitment into demonstrating public support. To them, I say Bravo! for a job well done.

Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter