SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill that would put an end to plastic bag bans. meaning Surfside Beach may be one of the last towns in the state to cease the use of them.
If the S.C. Senate votes in favor of the House's ban, any city or town that introduced a plastic bag ban before Jan. 31 would be able to keep that ordinance in place. Towns or cities trying to add one will not be able to.
Surfside Beach's ban passed on Jan. 24 and will still go into effect on June 1.
Supporters of the House's ban say plastic bag production is vital to the state's economy.
Conservation leagues, however, argue that plastic is ruining the planet and towns should have the ability to ban it if they want. The U.N. Clean Seas Campaign reports there is 500 times more plastic in the ocean than stars in the galaxy.
Erin Pate, with the Coastal Conservation League, is strongly against the House ban.
"Coastal Conservation League supports communities up and down the coast - from Surfside to Mount Pleasant to Hilton Head - that have or are considering banning single-use plastic bags," Pate said. "These communities have made a leadership choice to clean up their town. So it is especially disappointing that the S.C. House of Representatives chose to pass an anti-Home Rule bill that undermines a long-standing principle that says towns and counties should be able to address local problems with local solutions. Going forward, we are hopeful the Senate will value local control and clean communities."