Tag Archives: Environmental protection

Concerned San Antonio Residents Call for Plastic Bag Ban

Plastic bag banning reusable bag picSan Antonio’s economy has remained steady and prosperous by successfully attracting new businesses and helping existing companies grow. The City has focused on creating new employment opportunities in 21st century industries, maintaining a great quality of life, and facilitating business growth at the local and international level.  This is a city working to improve itself. San Antonio has made great strides in terms of supporting clean energy, investing in the SA River Improvements Project (SARIP), and expanding its public transit system. However City officials are lagging behind when it comes to protecting the city’s beauty by fighting plastic bag pollution. 

One very serious and expensive environmental problem that San Antonio is facing at the moment is pollution from plastic bags.  Single-use checkout bags have harmful impacts on the environment and drain tax dollars as well.  Even more, San Antonio residents use more than 1.6 billion plastic bags every single year.  At least 80% of these end up in landfills or as litter. While stores don’t charge for the bags, city taxpayers pay for a variety of pollution impacts. They cause damage to recycling facilities, and despite the fact that they are about 1% of the waste stream they cost recyclers as much as 30% of their labor time. They cost local residents as much as 1.3 million a year to control their pollution, and they disproportionately affect low income communities who have fewer resources for pollution control, less recycling and more fragile infrastructure. That 1.3 million could be helping lower income neighborhoods, but instead is being wasted on plastic bag pollution. Even more money is spent on state and federal clean-up efforts, and it is impossible to put a dollar value on the impacts to wildlife killed by plastic bags. It’s clear that convenient plastic bags are not worth the damage that comes with them.

San Antonio’s City Council is now considering a ban on plastic bags at retail checkouts. Several cities across the state have already taken action against single-use bags. The cities of Brownsville, Fort Stockton, Austin, South Padre, and three others in Texas have seen dramatic decreases in bag litter since they passed local ordinances on checkout bags. Because of this supporters and members of the Sierra Club Alamo Group, Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Environment Texas joined with residents of San Antonio to soundly express support for a full ban on single-use plastic bags in San Antonio.   Residents testified during the “Citizen’s to be Heard” portion of the June 12th City Council meeting, and no action was taken by council.   However efforts are still being made, on June 21st the Blacknote Galleria showed a screening of “Bag It!”, an insightful documentary on the overuse of plastic, to help increase awareness and support for the issue.  Here at the Sierra Club we are asking supporters of a ban to contact their city council members and to express their support of a ban at City Council meetings. The City Council Governance Committee will likely hear the issue sometime in August or September, so be sure to contact your council person before then.  San Antonio residents deserve a clean city and so they must press their City Council to pass an ordinance ensuring that action is taken to solve this problem.

Plastic bags are a hot topic, not just in Texas but all over the country and in a few others. The main topic of conversation seems to be the paper vs. plastic debate.  There are a lot of interesting sides to the argument but I believe this one has a winning conclusion. Ultimately the real fight isn’t against plastic bags but rather doing what is right for the environment. Banning plastic bags is one step towards protecting the environment and protecting our future. It’s rare that we recognize a problem from the very start. Rivers used to be dumpsters until we realized that polluting was harmful to our drinking water.  Fields used to be ours for the taking until we realized over-farming was damaging to the integrity of soil. And plastic bags will be used for our convenience until we realize they are hurting our environment.

Written By:  Christina Farrell

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Lone Star Chapter Awards

WINNERS of the 2010 LONE STAR CHAPTER AWARDS

* GERALD LANGHAM – the Virginia Murray Brewer Outings Award
* PAT MORRIS and DEWAYNE QUERTERMOUS – the Chapter Conservation Award
* THE CIBOLO CONSERVATION CORRIDOR INITIATIVE, CIBOLO NATURE CENTER – Evelyn R. Edens Award for River Protection
* NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS COMMUNITIES ALLIANCE and ROGER SIGLIN – Special Service Award
* GALVESTON BEACH TO BAY, BILL BROUSSARD DIRECTOR – Hermann Rudenberg Award for Coastal Protection
* RUSSEL AND KAREN DALGLISH SEAL – Chapter Service Award
* FORT WORTH WEEKLY – Environmental Reporting
* CHARLES KRUVAND – Art in Service to the Environment Award

WHAT: DINNER & AWARDS CEREMONY. RSVP Jerome Collins, Lone Star Chapter (512-477-1729) $40 per person.

WHEN: SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2011, 6 PM

WHERE: CHEZ ZEE AMERICAN BISTRO

5406 Balcones Dr, Austin Tx 78731, 512-454-2666

CONTACTS: For dinner reservations and ticket purchase ($40 per person) RSVP Jerome Collins, Lone Star Chapter (512-477-1729).

The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club annually recognizes Sierra Club members and others who have done outstanding work in pursuit of environmental protection or in furthering the goals and activities of the Sierra Club. Most of the nominations for these chapter awards come from chapter and group leaders.

It is important that our volunteers and other people who give their time to the work of the Sierra Club or to environmental protection and natural resource management in general are recognized for their efforts. They are the foundation on which the Sierra Club and protection of the environment rest. Giving awards is one way we honor these people.

The dinner will feature remarks from WILLIAM AND LANNY SINKIN, of Solar San Antonio, winners of the 2009 Special Service Award.

Thanks to the 2010 Awards Committee – Judith Aronow, Rita Beving, Teresa Carrillo (Chair), Margot Clarke, Sandra Grimes, and Dave Wells.