My family is enjoying our annual trip to the islands, getting new photos shot, and checking out great snorkel spots. My wife came across an important piece of legislation that recently passed here on Maui. The county of Maui is banning plastic bags at all grocery and retail outlets in 2011.
It can’t come soon enough. I’ve been saying for years, that islands such as the Hawaiian islands can ill afford the plastic bag epidemic that plagues the mainland. As we drive around the island today and yesterday, there isn’t 10 feet without a grocery bag stuck in bush, floating in the water, and blowing around the roadway. These “convenience” bags are used for a few minutes, never recycled and end up blowing out of landfills, out of the back of pick-up trucks, and out of cars into the ocean. It only a matter of time before this plastic plague invades the coastlines.
More and more countries, counties and cities are banning these environmental hazards. They kill marine mammals by the thousands, foul the environment and ruin recycling machinery at waste plants. Starting in 2011 you will have to buy a reusable tote (hopefully made from recycled clothing and not plastic) here in Maui county (on the islands of Maui, Lanai, and Molokai). In any case, its a major victory for an island that is in desperate need of trash management. Millions of people visit this island every year, most leave it better, and now, less plastic will be used.
Now, how to deal with plastic water bottles, plastic wraps and films, and non-recyclable paper products. I applaud the Maui County Commissioners for forward thinking and protection of this amazing part of our planet.