It’s been a few weeks since plastic bags have returned to Brownsville and South Padre Island.
This follows a Texas Supreme Court ruling making city wide bag bans illegal. Efforts are now underway across the state to promote alternatives both for businesses and residents. A Texas Supreme Court decision made the bans unenforceable in mid June. That means a city could not enforce local bans or fine a business for distributing single use plastic bags.
Now the bags are back and are angering many environmentalists across the state.
They say the bags are creating unwanted litter. The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club in Austin ware urging business to keep bags away. Reggie James with the Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club says, “People enjoy not seeing the trash anymore. People become more responsible.”
Plastic bags are a divisive issue in Brownsville. Online Surveys show support split down the middle for and against the bags. Early today we met with a landscaping crew who says they are now seeing bags mixed with other trash, but still support them in stores out of convenience.
Victor Baldovinos, SPI Environmental Health Director says, “We wanted to protect our marine life and in order to do so we actually implemented an ordinance to regulate plastic bags.”
Cities across the state are responding different to the plastic bag ban repeal. In SPI the mayor plans to send out letter in order to encourage voluntary participation in the ban. In Brownsville there is no official campaign to restrict or promote plastic bags.
Brownsville Interim City Manager Michael Lopez says, “It would be up to the vendor to see if they would like to continue the plastic bags or not.”
Currently most of the major retailers in Brownsville are distributing single use plastic bags. You can follow this conversation online on our official Facebook page.