By: Francisco Diaz, The Laredo Sun
LAREDO, TX. - An environmental group will resume the project to drastically reduce the use of plastic bags in local shops as a way to protect the Rio Grande from contamination.
"Several Texas cities are already taking significant steps in this topic. Brownsville used the ordinance that was proposed to use in Laredo and became the first municipality to regulate the use of plastic bags in the state," said Tricia Cortez.
The executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center added that in South Padre Island a plan has already been implemented because officials believe it necessary to start protecting the environment.
Laredo recalled that there was an attempt to regulate the use of plastic bags in stores but was not successful.
“The environmental consequences are drastic. The bags are on the storm sewer, enter the sanitary sewer, clog pipes and drains and often end up in the river increasing pollution," she said.
Cortez said that bags made with oil and petrol, it takes hundreds of years to destroy and can cause serious damage to aquatic wildlife.
"We already began to have meetings with downtown merchants, with executives from HEB, Mall del Norte, and all entities involved in this special initiative," said Cortez.
Cortez said that this time there is great support from Councilman Alex Perez and Sister Rosemary Welsh.
"We want an open and friendly dialogue with merchants to reach an agreement. We cannot allow these bags to be used without any control. It is estimated that a trillion are disposed of each year,” she said.
Cortez stressed that it is important to involve the community in this effort by recycling the bags instead of throwing them in the streets because this will prevent from reaching the Rio Grande and contaminate it.
"People can use them to put trash away, for storage and for other purposes without having to throw them,” she said.
In the negotiations to be carried out, they will determine whether a fee will be set in stores for people to use plastic bags or to make a campaign to distribute eco bags."
The important thing is that we have on our side to Councilman Alex Perez, who will help us prepare an ordinance that is fair to everyone.”