City of San Clemente sewer, storm drain and street sweeping workers have to remove more than 20,000 single-use plastic grocery bags from the town's infrastructure every year, according to city documents.
To help curb the problem and stop thousands of other bags from ending up in the ocean, the San Clemente City Council Tuesday will consider an ordinance to ban plastic bags at shops and grocery stores in town and impose a fee for paper bags to be collected by the retailers.
The city is being careful in its implementation of the ordinance because of legal challenges by the bags' manufacturers against local bag bans in other cities, according to a city staff report on the proposed ban.
To protect the city from legal challenges, staffers say the city needs a preliminary environmental report that will cost about $15,000 to prepare.
The Surfrider Foundation has been a big champion of these bans locally and statewide. The foundation helped get bans adopted recently in Dana Point and Huntington Beach.
Denise Erkeneff of Surfrider's South Orange County Chapter, who also helped lead the successful charge against polystyrene food containers in town, said she was excited to see the item on the agenda.
"Almost two thirds of cities in California have enacted bag bans," she said. "It's been a long time coming, and they should have done it when they enacted the polystyrene ban, but we're glad it's on the agenda."
The San Clemente City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday for a presentation of the 2014 budget, and then commence the regular meeting at 6 p.m. The council will meet in i.