Observer staff report
LONG BEACH — A milestone has been reached in a campaign to curb the number of disposable plastic bags littering Long Beach’s maritime environment.
Organizers Martha Williams and Larkin Stentz began lobbying more than a year ago for a ban on single-use bags and a switch to reusable bags. Although the Long Beach City Council declined to ban plastic shopping bags, the city has provided $4,000 from city lodging tax proceeds to purchase shopping bags that can be reused many times.
“We’re joining in with a mass movement around the United States,” Williams said in a pitch to city council in the summer of 2017. “Cities around the country are saying ‘enough is enough.’”
An average of 46,000 tiny pieces of plastic are floating on every square mile of the world’s oceans, according to a United Nations environment program. Fish can’t tell the difference between the tiny plastic particles and food. So they end up eating the plastic. Another marine animal comes along later and eats the fish and the plastic inside it. The process repeats all the way up the food chain.
Not only are plastic bags a hazard to marine life, sea birds and animals, they also pile up in landfills and clog storm drains.
The new bags, featuring a Dungeness crab cavorting under the famous Bolstad beach approach arch, sports the logo “Fun Beach, Clean Beach, Long Beach, WA.” They are being distributed to lodging establishments to be given to guests. The first batch went out on Aug. 30, in time for Labor Day weekend.
Stentz said included in the first delivery were Boreas B&B, the Anchorage, Adrift and Inn at Discovery Coat, Boardwalk Cottages, Chautaugua, Mermaid, Rosemont, Rodeway, Best Western, Inn at the Arch and the Shelburne. Next on the delivery list are Sand Castle RV, Thunderbird, The Breakers, Akari and Coastal Inn.