FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Folly Beach City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday night to ban single-use plastic carryout bags, Styrofoam food containers and coolers and balloons on the beach.
The city is the first municipality in South Carolina to do so.
The use of prohibited items on the beach takes effect immediately, according to City Administrator Spencer Wetmore. The ban on the distribution of bags takes effect Jan. 1.
Mayor Tim Goodwin said the ban is "critically important" to protect the pristine Lowcountry.
"This is just one small step for the health of the environment," Goodwin said. "Our ocean and our ocean life are the most important pieces of what makes Folly so special, and we have to do our part to preserve our piece of paradise."
"We saw the damage that non-recyclable plastic bags and Styrofoam were inflicting on our most valuable asset, the beach and ocean, and decided to make a change," Lewis Dodson, president of the Folly Association of Businesses, said. "Folly Beach's businesses are committed to protecting these assets and being good stewards of the ocean."
For the next few months, the City of Folly Beach, local businesses, and nonprofit partners will work to educate citizens and visitors about the new ordinances, Wetmore said.
The City aims to stress education and awareness before punitive action, he said.
Local conservation groups, including the Charleston Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, the Charleston Waterkeeper, and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, pushed for the measure to help cut plastic pollution on the beach and in the ocean.