by Tommy Hough
After years of work and heavy lifting by the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper, the Sierra Club and so many other area environmental organizations, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 on Tuesday, July 19, to approve Item 332 – the ban on single-use, disposable plastic bags in the city of San Diego.
This is an immense victory for the health of our local beaches, and the ocean generally. It's also a reminder and acceptance of the unique obligation coastal communities have as a "last line of defense" before plastic and other trash are swept up from the beach or in watersheds that lead to the ocean.
Banning the sale of single-use plastic bags – which look like food when floating in the ocean and will only ever break down into smaller pieces of plastic – will demonstrably make San Diego cleaner and our environment healthier, from the deserts to the beaches.
Here is the text of the remarks I made to council on behalf of the club.
Good Afternoon Council President Lightner,
My name is Tommy Hough, and I'm the president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action. We count over 180 environmentally-committed members of the county and state Democratic parties as our members, and I can tell you we fully support the ban on single-use, disposable plastic bags in the city of San Diego.
As a coastal community, we have a unique obligation as not only the last line of defense before trash, litter and other pollution enter the sea, but also as leaders in determinding what kind of materials and resources are appropriate given our coastal location and our commitment to the health of our watersheds, beaches and the sea.
This is for the greater health of our oceans and our planet, and it's one very big thing this community can do to demonstrate our commitment to reducing plastic pollution and recognizing the harm these materials pose to the ocean.
Please pass the plastic bag ban bill before you, and allow the city of San Diego to stand with 149 other California communities in banning single-use plastic bags.
A San Diego County planning commissioner and former radio host at 91X and FM 94/9, Tommy Hough works as an environmental consultant with the ReWild Mission Bay campaign, and is a California Democratic Party delegate and the co-founder and former president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action.