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Environmental Department To Propose Banning Plastic Bags At San Diego Stores

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The city of San Diego's Environmental Services Department is scheduled today to propose banning plastic bags at stores.

Department staff will ask members of the City Council's Rules and Economic Development Committee for feedback and direction on their proposal.

According to a report, nearly 80 cities in California prohibit or restrict plastic bags, which are considered a threat to the environment. The list includes Solana Beach. The city of Encinitas is also developing a plastic bag ordinance.

San Diego's proposed ordinance would ban plastic bags in supermarkets, large stores that sell food, drug stores and convenience stores.

The proposal would also require stores to charge customers 10 cents per paper bag used as an alternative but exempt restaurants, nonprofits, food stamp recipients, and produce and meat products. The city would also provide for distribution of reusable bags and public education.

The department says it spent $160,000 in the most recent fiscal year cleaning up plastic bags, especially ones that float around the Miramar Landfill when they're caught up in the breeze.

Environmentalists contend that plastic bags are a major category of debris found on beaches, watersheds and oceans, where some marine mammals try to consume them.

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