Maui News

EPA Applauds Maui and Kauai for Plastic Bag Bans

February 1, 2011, 8:10 AM HST
* Updated February 29, 11:09 AM
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By Wendy Osher

The US Environmental Protection Agency applauded the mayors, county councils and residents of Maui and Kauai counties for enacting restrictions banning plastic shopping bags, effectively reducing waste and protecting the environment.

Former Council member, Michael Molina introduced the Plastic Bag Ban in Maui County. Photo by Wendy Osher.

EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, Jared Blumenfeld said the local bans will not only decrease the amount of plastic in the counties, it will also reduce the number of bags that end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patch refers to areas of floating waste identified by NOAA that consists mainly of plastic litter and other marine debris found in the North Pacific. Blumenfeld said the action will also help to protect many species of Pacific marine and bird life, which attempt to consume the plastic debris after mistaking it for food.

The County of Maui and Kauai join American Samoa in banning plastic shopping bags in the Pacific area. Other US cities that also have bag bans include: San Francisco, Portland, San Jose, Santa Monica, Marin County, South Padre, Texas, coastal North Carolina, Malibu, Palo Alto, Fairfax, and Los Angeles County. Areas outside the US that have banned free plastic bags include China, Bangladesh, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Ireland, and Taiwan.

Plastic bag legislation is currently under consideration in the Californian cities of Fremont, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Trent Hills, Long Beach, Santa Clara County, and other areas such as New York City, Seattle, Boston, Phoenix, Arkansas, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maryland.

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