Plastic Bags clog drains and pollute the water

Published On March 23, 2013

The Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA), has called for a statewide ban on plastic disposable bags.

It issued a statement urging city governments that have not already done so to approve such bans, following the counties of both Santa Clara and San Mateo, that have both banned the use of plastic bags in unincorporated areas.

BASMAA representatives say that plastic bags lead to water pollution, increased litter and stormwater drain issues.

“In a baseline survey of Bay Area litter conducted by BASMAA in 2012, single-use plastic grocery bags accounted for 8 per cent of litter in the region,” the statement said.

The statement by BASMAA also suggested that plastic bags present unique cleanup problems.

“With exposure to sunlight and water, they break into smaller toxic pieces that entwine in vegetation, contaminate soil and water, and may be consumed by animals and birds,” it said.

“Removing these shreds of thin plastic is challenging and time-consuming.  That’s why reducing use of single-use plastic grocery bags as a litter source can help,” BASMAA said.

BASMAA’s statement also referred to the City of San Jose which has already seen a reduction in plastic bag litter from 12 per cent of all litter in 2010, to four per cent of all litter in 2012.

“It degrades water quality and adversely affects fish, wildlife and aquatic habits,” the statement said.

“By 2014, a 40- percent reduction in trash must be met,” BASMAA explained.  “It is expected that these requirements will also be part of future stormwater permits issued to other bay Area counties.”