Single-use plastic bags, beverage bottles and airborne balloons got tossed out in Carlsbad’s march to reduce the waste and pollution that end up in landfills or on roadsides and beaches. Three separate environmental ordinances were introduced at Tuesday’s Carlsbad City Council meeting, mirroring or expanding actions taken by other cities and states nationwide. Plastic trash makes up 53 percent of litter collected on San Diego County beaches, according to the nonprofit San Diego Coastkeeper.

“It’s so important to protect our beaches,” said Councilmember Priya Bhat-Patel before the 5-0 vote to approve the measures.State law prohibits the outdoor release of balloons made of electrically conductive material, such as foil or Mylar, but does not prohibit common types such as latex. Carlsbad’s new ordinance goes further and outlaws the intentional release of any balloon filled with gas lighter than air. In addition to littering, the balloons and any strings or plastic attached pose a hazard to wildlife.

The city also will prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic beverage bottles at city facilities and city events. About 12.8 billion of the containers were sold in California in 2020, of which 8.8 billion were recycled and 4 billion ended up in landfills or as litter. The Ocean Conservancy reported plastic beverage bottles were the second-most collected item in its 2021 coastal cleanup.

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Author: Phil Diehl, The San Diego Union-Tribune
The San Diego Union-Tribune