Plastic Bag Ban Approved In LA Markets
For clean water advocates, this proved a monumental victory as, for four years, they have been trying to pass this ban for in order to reduce the amount of trash clogging landfills and waterways.
According to The LA Times, Wednesday’s vote kicks off a four-month environmental review of the bag ban, followed by passage of an ordinance putting it into effect. Larger stores would then have six months to phase out plastic bags while smaller markets would have a 12-month phase-out period. For paper bags, retailers would be required to charge 10 cents per bag starting one year after the plastic bag is enacted.
Councilman Paul Koretz, who pushed for the paper bag ban, said that city officials would conduct a study two years from now to determine whether the ban should extend to paper bags as well. However, he hopes that with the added charge for their use, there will be such few employed that a measure won't be necessary.
As significant as this ruling is for Los Angeles, it was long overdue according to activists from other California cities like San Jose, San Francisco and Long Beach, all of which already had this ban.
"Plastic harms our environment. It is a threat to the coastal economy. It is a danger to marine life and it is an unconscionable burden to taxpayers who have to foot the bill for cleanups year after year,” attorney H. David Nahai, a former top executive at the Department of Water and Power, told the LA Times.
Employees of plastic bag manufacturers, however, were not in a celebratory mood, wearing t-shirts that read "Don't Kill My Job", they unsuccessfully pleaded with the council to change course.
While this ban will almost certainly benefit the environment, we have yet to see how it will affect these workers and their families who, in a time of record high unemployment and economic uncertainty, may now be at risk of becoming a part of that statistic.