SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Following Brownsville’s lead, South Padre Island officials this week proposed eliminating plastic bags from local stores, saying the ban will help keep beaches spotless and reduce pollution on and around the Island.

South Padre Island City Councilwoman Alita Bagley, who proposed an ordinance Wednesday that would ban plastic shopping bags from Island stores, said, “We live in such an environmentally sensitive area, and plastic bags here cause a lot of problems.”

Island leaders began considering such a proposal after Brownsville announced last year that it would go forward with a ban on plastic bags within the city. While Island leaders had attempted to get the nearby towns of Port Isabel and Laguna Vista on board with such a ban, both have declined to do so, Bagley said.

“Basically, what we’ve seen is that these plastic bags end up in our beaches and in our bays,” said Victor Baldovinos, environmental health director for the Island. “Even without looking at it environmentally, our number one industry is tourism,” he added. “That requires us to keep our beaches as pristine as humanly possible…This will help us do that.”

The South Padre Island City Council unanimously voted in favor of the ordinance this week, and the measure will go into effect on January 1, 2012, if leaders pass the measure on a second reading later this month.

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: Eco, News

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