Plastic-foam ban proposal bites dust in Hallandale
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.”