The Need For Plastics Ban Is Getting Serious

Maybe we need to pay attention, this is more than just straws
BY: JORGE RUIZ-ESPARZA

The Baja California Sur Ecological Balance and Environment Protection act, was last modified last August with the hopes of restricting the use of disposable plastics such as straws and plastic wrap. Minor modifications and tweaks are being worked on in order to finally enforce the act throughout the state.

The president of the Legislative and Regulations Commission, Virginia del Pilar Villavicencio, become a key figure in working out the details of this ambitious project. As she explained, the deadline for any additional modifications to the bill has been set for April 18th .

She also emphasized that they’ve been collaborating with several civilian sectors for months now. “This very important because it will impact small businesses. The regulation includes the complete ban of all single-use (disposable) materials; plastics that include straws, bags used for carrying food and containers, all of which will of course include a series of sanctions,” she said.

All supermarkets and restaurants have a deadline of this August to stop using these products. The state’s technical committee will be responsible for explaining the bill to all of the municipalities so they can enforce it. Even though the bill will be applied in the entire state, each municipality will have to independently notify their citizens. This means that if a municipality fails to alert all businesses and restaurants, the blame goes directly to the top authority, in this case the buck stops with the head of the municipality; the mayor.

Each municipality will need to do this all the while promoting natural resource conservation and environmental awareness among its citizens.

 To put things into perspective as to how neccessary this act is not only statewide, but nationwide, the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMAMAT in Spanish)  calculated that each day an estimated 20 million plastic bags are used in Mexico  City alone. Of course this may be the most populated city in North America, yet no city is immune to the contamination that plastic waste inevitably brings. The Education and Training for Sustainable Development Center here in Mexico reminds us that plastic bags take up to 150 years to completely break down and degrade, while other organizations such as Greenpeace, claim the very same bags could last up to 400 years. Yikes. How do they know that? Have they watched a bag over 400 years? We take a wild guess here and say no.

The Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainability director in the town of Loreto, (population about 20,000), Luis Espino, pipes up that his municipality will focus on informing his public about this plastic thing to comply with the state norms, you bet, he’s on it. Maybe we could make him poster boy for our state.

Seriously, this is a big step and the transition will be difficult. Costco has it handled, Walmart will be challenged. We all need to be understanding and cooperative. ,