In a remarkable day for ocean conservation and advancing environmental safeguards in San Diego County, the Solana Beach City Council voted unanimously in April 2012 to pass an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags, becoming the first city in San Diego County to pass such legislation.

“Last night’s decision is a stepping-stone for other coastal communities in San Diego County to follow suit,” explains Walker Hicks, a volunteer with Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign. “We applaud the Solana Beach City Council members for their decision, and look forward to enjoying cleaner oceans, waves and beaches as a result.”

Businesses will be given a three-month grace period to come into compliance with the new ordinance. The legislation includes a 10-cent fee for paper bags, a common component in similar plastic bag ban ordinances around the state. Stores found in violation of these rules could be charged up to $1,000 for non-compliance.

The Solana Beach City Council chambers were packed with concerned citizens, environmental advocates, and local high school students in support of the proposed ordinance, representing a growing movement against single-use plastics, which pose a significant, and long-lasting threat to the environment.

“We are pleased to see the California Grocers’ Association supportive of this ordinance’s intention, which is to reduce plastic litter,” says Marisa Espinosa, Co-Chair of the Rise Above Plastics campaign. “We have spent years working on this issue, and single-use, plastic litter is costing local municipalities millions of dollars to clean up. The effect on our environment and local waste management budgets have been awful, so this victory is particularly sweet for all of our activists and members.”

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