North Myrtle Beach city leaders will discuss a possible ban on plastic bags at its first workshop on the matter.
The goal of the ban is to help reduce ocean pollution and the resulting harm to marine life, according to city spokesperson Pat Dowling. At Monday night’s city council, Mayor Hatley announced city council will hold a workshop on July 30 at 2 PM at City Hall to discuss plastic bags.
“We do use plastic bags all the time. That’s the main thing that we use. Very very cheap,” said Aleg Jaber, manager of Kings at the Beach on Main Street.
Jaber said if the ban is implemented, his customers will pay the price since the store will have to use more expensive, textile bags. He said the store would have to raise the price on all other goods to make up for the cost.
“Of course, that’s the worry of everybody. All the businesses they’re worried about their prices. Because either way they’re going to lose somebody,” he said.
Dowling said the city understands the concerns of local businesses and will try to accommodate them should a ban pass.
“It is something that would be phased in over time. There is a local supermarket owner who has purchased 25,000 plastic bags, so you can’t just ask a business person to eat that cost,” he said.
However, according to Dowling, the city has its own reservations, especially enforcement.
‘Where do you enforce this? If it’s on the beach we have a whole other problem on our hands because if there’s 5,000 people on the beach and half have plastic bags, what is law enforcement going to do?” he said.
Dowling said city leaders will consider the impact of the plastic bag ordinance passed in Surfside Beach as they come to a decision.
“We know there is a coastal town in Horry County that has a ban on plastic bags and we’re hearing they might not be so happy that they passed that.”
State legislation that would have outlawed local bans on plastic bags made it to the state senate in April. However, lawmakers did not take any action on it before the end of the legislative session in May.