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South Padre Island joins the bag banning brigade

That didn’t take long.

Buoyed by a weeks-old law in nearby Brownsville, South Padre Island leaders Wednesday made the vacation hot spot the next Texas town to restrict the use of single-use plastic bags.

The unanimously approved prohibition against using plastic bags at points of sale becomes mandatory Jan. 1, 2012. Between Feb. 1 and then, merchants are asked to comply with a voluntary ban.

The measure was championed by a group of surfer-activists, said Alita Bagley, the city councilwoman who introduced it early last year.

“Living on an island with the Laguna Madre bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other side — we’re a very sensitive environment,” Bagley said. “This really seemed like sort of a natural step. The statistics are out there (on) what problems the amount of plastic causes, particularly in the marine environment.”

“Surfer-activists”. Who knew we had such things in Texas? Unlike the Brownsville ordinance, this one allows for compostable plastic bags, which if nothing else should make life a little easier for folks who use their grocery bags to clean up after their dogs. Kudos to South Padre for taking this step. We’ll see who follows next.

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