On the Ban Wagon

Dec 13, 2017

To the Editor:

Many thanks to Mayor Mancini and the Long Beach Township Commission for passing their ordinance regulating and limiting the use of plastic bags. The move is a monumental one and sends ripples of concern and commitment for our environment out across our Island.

The statistics based on many studies make it clear why actions to reduce plastic going into our ocean are positively necessary.

What better place than our barrier island, surrounded by water, to make a commitment to reducing the plastic debris polluting our ocean? Continuing the Long Beach Township ripple, we are approaching the other five municipalities on Long Beach Island to discuss the ordinance. I am delighted to say that so far, we have met with municipal leaders who have responded with interest and are anxious to learn about the need for such an ordinance.

Harvey Cedars Mayor Jon Oldham and Commissioners Mike Garofalo and Judy Gerkens were the first to hear our presentation on limiting plastic bags. They wasted no time in reviewing the need and the impact on businesses in Harvey Cedars. Harvey Cedars’ ordinance to address plastic bags will be presented in January for public comment.

Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis of Beach Haven is 100 percent committed to also implementing an ordinance, and at the current time, a document is being created for review by the Beach Haven Council.

Meeting with Ship Bottom Mayor Huelsenbeck and council members, it was very encouraging to be able to respond to their interest in learning more. We were able to provide further statistical support for an ordinance, and Teresa Hagan responded to Mr. Orrico’s concerns in The SandPaper (“Bag Ban Reeks,” 11/22) about E. coli and addressed other questions.

Michele Farias, who owns a store in Ship Bottom, spoke about her experience. Having visited California and foreign countries, she commented that using your own reusable bags is part of their culture and very doable. Over a year ago, Michele’s commitment to the environment resulted in her family’s stores adopting the use of paper bags, selling reusable bags for 99 cents and installing a hydration system to reduce plastic bottle usage. Residents and visitors to the stores have commended staff on these measures.

Thanks, John Weber, for your letter (“Bag Bans Work,” 11/29). “Wouldn't it be nice if each of the cars went home with a few branded, reusable bags from Long Beach Island that remind them of their awesome time?” he wrote, and he went on to say they might even lead to legislation in the visitors’ home communities. Right on, John Weber!

On Dec. 13, the ripple will continue as we meet with Surf City Mayor Hodgson and council members. We hope our reception will be as open and gracious as it has been, and that we can provide additional information in support of an ordinance. We hope to be meeting with Barnegat Light Mayor Kirk Larson and council in the future. Having all the municipalities on Long Beach Island unite in limiting the use of plastic bags would provide a message, loud and clear, of commitment to the protection of our ocean and ecosystem.

The ripples are extending  beyond our shores. Britta Wenzel, executive director of Save Barnegat Bay, has spoken with council members on the mainland and will be sharing Long Beach Township’s ordinance as a template for possible implementation in the municipalities of the Barnegat Bay watershed.

Mary Wilding

Harvey Cedars





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