NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – North Myrtle Beach is considering joining several other coastline cities in the single-use plastic bag ban to help protect its local waterways.
Monday afternoon, city council considered the pros and cons of a potential plastic bag ban; many of the members expressed concerns of how they would begin to police the ordinance.
“Enforcement is always a problem. Where do you do it? At the point of sale, do you do it on the beach, can people bring plastic bags from other states,” says Patrick Dowling, a spokesperson for North Myrtle Beach.
Another issue that was brought up during the meeting was how a ban on plastic bags would affect local businesses. According to the city’s staff, some store owners spend upwards of $300,000 to buy bags that last them several months.
“We’ve got to take all of these things into account as we establish a timetable, because it’s not right that businesses should suffer,” says Dowling.
Many locals attended Monday’s meeting, including Christine Lee, a volunteer for North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Rescue. She says a plastic bag ban would not only benefit the city’s marine wildlife, but also its tourism industry.
“We want to keep North Myrtle Beach beautiful, and we want people to keep coming back. If we don’t have this (plastic bag ban), and (the beaches are) ruined by (plastic bags), we won’t have the people to come back,” says Lee.
City Council is working on drafting a detailed resolution that would slowly introduce a plastic bag ban over the course of several years. The plan would focus first on educating businesses and consumers before ultimately enforcing fines and punishments. The city will present their resolution in an upcoming council meeting.