Plastic Bag Ban Adopted in Harvey Cedars

One of many plastic bags found at Sunset Park in Harvey Cedars.

The Harvey Cedars Borough Commission has adopted an ordinance to prohibit businesses from distributing single-use plastic carryout bags.

Borough Clerk Daina Dale said the ban would take effect on June 1.

“We thought that would give businesses adequate time to prepare,” she said. “Beginning on that date, patrons would have to bring their own reusable bags to stores in the town, or pay a fee for recycled paper bags.”

Dale said the ordinance is patterned after a measure adopted last year by Long Beach Township. The ordinance says the municipality “believes it has a duty to investigate and implement any and all necessary and proper steps to protect the environment and the public health, welfare and safety.”

“Plastic bags are not biodegradable,” said Mayor Jonathan Oldham. “They stick around forever.”

Deputy Mayor Judy Gerkens said that prior to adopting the ordinance at Feb. 2 meeting, officials sent copies of the ordinance to local businesses.

“We wanted their feedback,” said Gerkens. “I would think if businesses had a problem, we would have heard about it, but we got little response.”

Harvey Cedars resident Mary Wilding applauded the borough’s move, noting that she and other members of the Garden Club of Long Beach Island have been speaking to various local officials on the issue.

Wilding said her views were crystallized when she saw the 2016 documentary “A Plastic Ocean,” which focuses on the plastic pollution of Earth’s oceans.

She said that according to the film, plastic production in America was estimated to be more than 300 million tons in 2015. By 2025, there could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish.

“This encompasses not just bags, bottles and fishing nets, but also microplastics. According to the film, the micro-particles of plastic, some of which carry toxins, are ingested by marine life, and that marine life is eventually consumed by us,” she said.

Wilding is also active with the Harvey Cedars Activities Committee, and is arranging a showing of the documentary over the summer.

“The activities group has had some evening talks and programs at the firehouse,” she said. “This is an extremely important film, so we should show it to educate the public.”

Reposted from The Sandpaper