By many measures, Santa Monica is one of the greenest cities in America. It has a strong sustainable city program that includes ambitious environmental, economic and quality of life goals and objectives. It has tough and effective water quality and water supply programs. Its alternative fuels fleet policy has generally been excellent. And city leaders have developed and approved a very tough ordinance that banned single use polystyrene packaging. And for the last three years, they have talked about banning plastic bags. And talked. And talked.
The issue hits home for me in a number of ways. Banning plastic bags in California is one of Heal the Bay’s highest priorities. Also, as the three-year co-president of the Heal the Bay-Surfrider Club at Santa Monica High School, my son Zack has worked with teacher Ben Kay and his fellow students to ban plastic bags in the city since his freshman year. Zack is a senior now. While the city of Santa Monica has studied the issue to death, residents and visitors have disposed of at least 200 million plastic bags, and far too many of them have ended up in Santa Monica Bay and the Pacific beyond.