New Hanover, Wrightsville Beach officials consider plastic bag ban
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WILMINGTON -- Discussions about banning plastic bags on New Hanover County beaches have resurfaced among county and beach leaders.
Early this month, county commissioners and Wrightsville Beach aldermen met to discussion a number of things and this proposal was brought up.
While plastic bags come in handy in for many beachgoers, if left behind, they're harmful to marine life, birds, and the beauty of the beach.
"Sea turtles, marine birds, apex predator type of fish all dine on jellyfish and mistakenly eat plastic bags," said Sean Ahlum, with Cape Fear chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.
Wrightsville Beach town leaders have discussed a ban with county leaders in the past.
Now, the county is trying to see if beach towns are still interested.
"There's got to be some formal action from all the municipal beach towns, their council supporting it and then that question coming to the Board of County Commissioners; that has not happened," said Chris Coudriet, assistant New Hanover County manager.
A previous Wrightsville Beach passed a resolution supporting any kind of county-wide initiative regarding banning plastic bags. Wrightsville Beach town leaders said their support is about all they can give.
This is not the type of law that just Wrightsville Beach would pass.
"It's one that would be difficult at the local level to not only implement but enforce because you want to be business friendly," said Bob Simpson, Wrightsville Beach town manager.
County officials said because of state law, this type of ban would have to go through the General Assembly.
Currently, Dare County's ban is being challenged there. While details of New Hanover County's ban have not been laid out, officials said it would most likely mimic Dare County's ordinance.
"We would have to define the territory that we wanted to be impacted by this legislation," said Coudriet.
The Cape Fear chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is pushing for a county-wide ban.
They said just banning bags at the beaches would give some businesses an unfair advantage over the businesses who must comply. They said they plan on presenting a proposal to city and county leaders.
County officials plan to discuss this topic with Carolina and Kure Beach later this summer.