South Carolina Beach Communities Pushing for Plastic Bag Bans
By: Rick Crawford
Beach communities around South Carolina are pushing for plastic bag bans. In 2015, Isle of Palms was the first city in the state of South Carolina “to ban the distribution of single-use plastic bags by retailers to consumers.” The City of Folly Beach quickly followed suit and banned plastic bags, foam containers and balloons. Now, there are more beach communities along the South Carolina coast are looking to do the same, but why?
Plastic pollution is not only an eye-sore for many of these coastal towns that rely on tourism to support their local economies, but plastics also harm marine life. According to the Charleston Waterkeeper and Kea Payton, microplastics are already negatively impacting our fishery here in Charleston. In fact, Kea Payton found the following in her research:
- Microsplastics are everywhere in the Charleston watershed, meaning no hot-spots, but consistently located at every location.
- “Higher levels of microplastics were found within the flood tidal fronts.”
- “All recreational fishes examined in this study contained microplastics in their GI tracts; fishes studied include Croaker, Flounder, Mullet, Red Drum, Sea Trout, Spot, and Whiting caught in the Charleston Harbor.”
It’s crazy to think about the long-term impacts plastic pollution is not only having on our fisheries, but also our own healthy as microplastics begin to enter our food chain! Want to hear something crazier? Plastic lobbyists and legislators from South Carolina are trying step in and prevent local communities and municipalities from being able to ban items like plastic bags, balloons and styrofoam from their local communities. However, a state government trying to stop a local government from protecting the health of its community is clearly a violation of the “home rule.” The bill to stop local government’s from banning plastic bags and styrofoam will be back on the table in January, so be sure to let your elected officials know that you support the home rule and banning plastic bags!
Want to TAKE ACTION? Consider taking the following steps:
- SIGN THE PETITION…Charleston Waterkeeper created the Stop Plastic Bag Pollution petition to make it easy for you to contact your elected officials and let them know you oppose H.3529 and can be signed by clicking HERE.
- Contact the Coastal Conservation League who is doing its part to fend off plastic lobbyists from preventing our ability to ban plastic bags by clicking HERE.
- Volunteer for beach clean ups and marsh sweeps with organizations like Charleston Surfrider and Charleston Waterkeeper.
- Make donations and support the aforementioned nonprofits so that they can continue doing their good work to keep our waterways clean here in Charleston!
I hope this information is helpful! If you thought so, please share it through social media so we can protect what we love!