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Fort Lauderdale Has Banned Plastic Straws - What's Next?

Congratulations! The City of Fort Lauderdale passed an ordinance to eliminate the use of plastic straws. While it’s a small gesture in the greater scheme of the environment, it’s a nice victory. By eliminating the ubiquitous use of plastic straws, we’ve started a conversation – an awareness – of the importance of the marine environment in South Florida.

Where do we go from here? How do we take that one significant win and continue our work to save the ocean’s critical marine life?

Following the lead of cities like Bal Harbour, Coral Gables and West Palm Beach, our next step is to create ordinances to eliminate single use plastic bags and utensils, and Styrofoam in the city of Fort Lauderdale. Why branch out into Styrofoam? Like plastic, it goes into landfills (as well as the water) and never breaks down or disintegrates.

Replacing these materials with cardboard and other more environmentally friendly, recyclable materials continues our work, focusing on using (and manufacturing) materials that disintegrate easily and are better for the environment – both on land and in the water.

According to Miami New Times (https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/bal-harbour-becomes-one-of-florida-cities-to-ban-single-use-plastics-including-straws-and-bags-11154590)

There's really no valid argument against the idea that single-use plastics are ruining the planet. About 40 percent of plastic products are used only once, and as a result, almost 700 species have been harmed by this trash, according to National Geographic. The European Union recently banned ten types of single-use plastic items, including polystyrene cups, citing reports that 80 percent of marine litter is made of the stuff.

On June 27th, 2019, West Palm Beach joined Coral Gables and Bal Harbour to ban plastic bags and polystyrene containers https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190627/palm-beach-becomes-first-county-municipality-to-ban-plastic-bags-polystyrene-containers.   The ordinance will go into effect in early December giving businesses the time to use what’s in their inventory and source new materials to replace them. Once again, it’s about changing local habits with regard to the environment. According to the Palm Beach Post:

Polystyrene containers and single-use carry out plastic bags are detrimental to the environment because they do not fully degrade. They overburden landfills, introduce unsafe chemicals into the environment, become litter and create hazards for land and aquatic animals that ingeLllst them, the town ordinance says. They also impede waste reduction and recycling goals.

Let’s start a conversation.  How can we convince our Commissioners that joining in this fight is not only crucial to the health of our oceans, but an imperative next step to the health and welfare of our businesses and residents?

We’d love to hear your call to action!

Posted by: Marine Advisory Committee @ 12:00:00 pm  Comments (0)
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