Ban Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags in Beaufort, Port Royal and Beaufort County, SC

Sign this petition to show your support for a plastic bag ban in Beaufort County, City of Beaufort and Town of Port Royal!

Why ban plastic bags?

It takes between twenty to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. Even after decomposing, toxic plastic particles will remain in the environment forever.

Studies have shown that only 5-10% of these plastic bags are properly recycled nationwide. Most of the remaining 90-95% enter the solid waste system and end up slowly degrading in landfills over hundreds of years, or contribute to toxic emissions at waste-to-energy facilities. Others get blown around and pollute our waterways, clog gutters and sewers, and get caught in trees therefore posing a life-threatening risk to avian and marine wildlife.

Beaufort County has several sea turtle conservation and protection groups. Loggerhead sea turtles primary diet is jellyfish--to a sea turtle, a floating plastic bag looks like a jellyfish. Once taken into its mouth, a sea turtle cannot spit out a plastic bag--90% of sea turtle deaths are from plastic ingestion.

Please sign your name to protect our fragile coastal and marine ecosystems.

Dear Elected Official:


 


I am writing to encourage the Beaufort County Council, Beaufort City Council, and Town of Port Royal Council to pass ordinances restricting single-use plastic bags. it is crucial to protect the health and well-being of our citizens and wildlife, as well as the beauty of this place we love, and it matters a great deal. BEAUFORT SC INDIVISIBLE and its hundreds of members believe that it is time for Beaufort County and its municipalities to join them. And so do I.


 


These bags have been and will continue to be a big problem, especially in our fragile coastal environment.  They are not good for the environment anywhere, but they are particularly pernicious near our waterways.  Those who live here are familiar with the haunting pictures of turtles, water birds, and dolphins that have been choked or worse by bags that have contaminated the rivers and ocean.  And the damage goes far beyond what we can see.  As Kate Zimmerman, the AIr, Water, & Public Health Director of the Coastal Conservation League, has written, this is a global problem, with “enormous garbage patches now present in every major ocean.”  These bags, which are made of petrochemicals, are ingested at all levels of life - from micro-organisms to whales - and they are toxic to all living things.  That includes us, because it includes the seafood we eat.  Studies have already found toxic levels in our fabled oysters.  These toxins affect hormones that control both metabolism & sexual reproduction, especially in male oysters.  In oysters, studies have shown the reproduction rate cut by half. Eighty percent of sea turtle deaths are ascribed to plastic in the ocean. What these toxins are doing to humans is not yet clear, but it cannot be good.


 


In the Beaufort area, where we depend so heavily on visitors attracted by the natural beauty, the wildlife, and the foods from our waters, the protection of these resources is critical. Beaufort County and its municipalities also have many who work in fishing-related industries and farm the land, and protecting these parts of our economy are also very important.


 


Folly Beach, and Isle of Palms have led the way in establishing a ban on their use, and there is a move afoot in Charleston, where over 500 people recently attended a forum on the issue. It is time for Beaufort, Port Royal, and Beaufort County to join them.


 


Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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