May 23rd was a Wednesday. The sun was shining in Los Angeles as usual, there was traffic on all ten lanes of the 405, and somewhere a paparazzo was again hiding in the bushes waiting for a shot of Justin Beiber. But Wednesday, May 23rd was no ordinary day.
Why? Proponents of single-use plastic bag ban ordinances scored a huge victory that day. Los Angeles, home to almost 4 million consumers and 75,000 markets and grocers, agreed to begin drafting an ordinance effectively banning plastic bags within the next 10 to 16 months. City Council voted 13-1 in support of the measure.
Los Angeles joins San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington DC and, most recently, the entire state of Hawaii as counties or cities that have passed similar legislature. The southern California hub is the largest US city to do so. Time will tell if other larger cities such as New York, Houston and Chicago follow suit.
Despite this victory, a recent poll by the LA Times showed that the usually eco-conscious population of Los Angeles residents to be somewhat split on the issue. While 45% said that “Yes” they do support the ban and another 10% answered “Yes, but only if I have the option of paying for a paper bag,” 44% of the 1,440 surveyed said they do not support the ban. These numbers are evidence that there is still work to be done to continue the trend of ‘banning the bag’. Be it because of ignorance or indifference, this issue shouldn’t be that polarizing. Plastic bags are proven to be harmful to our environment, particularly our oceans, and their very production uses up precious resources such as oil, petroleum and natural gas.
All in all, May 23rd was a great day for our oceans and planet as a whole.