Plas­tic-foam ban pro­posal bites dust in Hal­lan­dale

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - By Su­san­nah Bryan Staff writer sbryan@sunsen­tinel.com or 954-356-4554

HAL­LAN­DALE BEACH — Mayor Joy Cooper tor­pe­doed a pro­posal to ban plas­tic foam items on the beach Wed­nes­day night, say­ing she wanted to give the city six months to pro­mote an anti-lit­ter and re­cy­cling cam­paign in­stead.

Hal­lan­dale Beach would have be­come the first city in Broward County to em­brace a ban on poly­styrene foam items at the beach in an ef­fort to help pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and sea life.

Last month, city com­mis­sion­ers gave ini­tial ap­proval to the plan brought for­ward by Com­mis­sioner Keith Lon­don.

But Wed­nes­day, Cooper put on the brakes, gain­ing quick sup­port from her al­lies on the dais, Com­mis­sion­ers Bill Ju­lian and An­thony San­ders.

Ju­lian had al­ready made a mo­tion to ap­prove the ban but switched gears af­ter the mayor pooh-poohed the idea.

“I am not ready to say, ‘let’s ban Sty­ro­foam,’ ” Cooper said. (Ac­tu­ally, Sty­ro­foam­brand plas­tic foam is not used for cups and other serv­ing items.)

She later told the Sun Sen­tinel: “Prod­ucts don’t lit­ter. Peo­ple do.”

Had the ban passed, any­one caught with a foam cup, plate or cooler at the beach might have faced a $50 fine.

Un­der Lon­don’s pro­posal, the ban would have ap­plied to all public places, in­clud­ing city parks and City Hall.

Last month, the mayor said she pre­ferred plas­tic foam items be pro­hib­ited only at the beach, where they are more likely to wind up in the ocean.

Plas­tic foam, said by ex­perts to take hun­dreds of years to de­com­pose, has been banned by the likes of Miami Beach, New York City and San Fran­cisco.

Late Wed­nes­day, Hal­lan­dale Beach Com­mis­sioner Michele Lazarow ques­tioned whether the mayor truly in­tended to re­con­sider a ban in the fall, as promised.

“It’s not a de­fer­ral,” Lazarow said. “It’s a flip. If I was a bet­ting lady, I could tell you right now this is not go­ing to hap­pen in six months.”

From the be­gin­ning, Ju­lian said he was un­easy with fin­ing any­one for lit­ter­ing. He re­peated that re­frain this week af­ter the mayor ex­pressed her re­luc­tance.

“You can ban this and ban that, but you have to en­force it,” Ju­lian said. “I don’t want to fine our res­i­dents. I want to ed­u­cate our res­i­dents. I am in fa­vor of hold­ing off on this un­til we ed­u­cate the public more.”

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