St. Pete, we have a plastic problem

By Mark Ferrulo - December 10, 2018

In St. Pete, we have a plastic problem. Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our environment for hundreds of years but that’s exactly what is happening. Our economy encourages us to make, use, and throw away plastic at the greatest possible speed. Americans dispose of almost 300 million plastic bags, 70 million polystyrene/Styrofoam cups, and 175 million plastic straws every day.

In St. Pete, much of this plastic ends up in our streets, parks, and waterways which flow into Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay, or the Gulf. Plastic fragments have been found ingested by endangered wildlife, including 100% of all sea turtle species and half of all seabirds and marine mammals.

But, there’s hope. This Thursday, Dec 13th, the St. Petersburg City Council will be voting on an ordinance addressing the overuse of two particularly harmful single-use plastics: plastic straws and polystyrene (brand name Styrofoam).

Click here to send an email to the St. Petersburg City Council in support of banning single-use plastic straws at food service establishments (except for those with medical needs) and to ban the use of polystyrene products on city-owned property and at city-sponsored events.

America’s obsession with single-use plastic is hazardous and nonsensical. We'll say it again - nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our environment for hundreds of years. Let’s call on our city government to do what other coastal towns in Florida have already done to take a serious step to reduce throwaway plastics. The proposed ordinance includes exceptions for hospitals, nursing homes, other medical facilities and people with disabilities. A one-year compliance period will include a voluntary “by request only” provision for straws, designed to allow businesses time to adapt.

Urge the St. Pete City Council to address plastic pollution and make St. Pete a leader in curtailing it.

P.S. – If you’d like to show your support in person, wear blue (optional) and arrive by 2:45pm on Thursday, December 13th, at St. Pete City Hall Council Chambers (175 5th Street N. 33701).