On Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors made their position known, voting unanimously to send a support letter for SB 405, the statewide legislation to ban single-use (plastic) bags – particularly great news for coastal communities like ours, where the bags accumulate on land, in waterways and in the ocean. Representatives from Eel River Disposal, Humboldt Baykeeper, the Northcoast Environmental Center and Humboldt Surfrider (yours truly) were on hand to illustrate the benefits of supporting the bill. Non-affiliated members of the public also stepped up to ask the supervisors to do the right thing. No one spoke against the bill, a heartening turn of events.
Let’s just say it straight out: Plastic bags are a miracle. They illustrate a crowning achievement of modern technology. After all, how many items designed to be used one single time actually last forever? We live in uncertain times overall, but one thing is for sure: Every time we go to the beach, plastic bags are there. Every time we drive down the highway, plastic bags are there. Every time we roam in the dunes or walk in the woods, plastic bags are there. All over the world, plastic bags are wherever we go!
They always make the Top 5 list of Things Found On The Beach That Are Not Actually A Natural Part Of The Beach And Are In Fact Trash. How amazingly consistent is that?! And they’re so durable! They actually maintain enough structural integrity to confuse sea turtles into thinking they’re jellyfish! The turtles even eat them! They remain strong enough to strangle seals and choke seabirds – incredible!
Oh, sure, cleaning up plastic waste costs the state millions every year, and, sure, reusable bags and boxes are a cinch to use, and, yes, grocers benefit from a statewide plastic bag ban because it would make business more uniform, especially since 72 (at last count) cities and counties have banned plastic bags.
If you value our economy and our sea life and the health of our beaches – and our own health, since we’re now eating fish that eat fish that eat plastic – of course, you’d support a ban on single use plastic bags, but if you, like the vast minority of Californians value a negligible amount of convenience above all else, then, well, that says a lot.