News and Events

Mayor of the City of Miami Beach addresses single-use plastics

IMG_342229 October, 2018: Mayor of the City of Miami Beach, Mr. Dan Gelber, and his Cabinet met with longtime sustainability champion, former Executive Director of ECOMB, and newly appointed WCPUN Representative for South Florida, Luiz Rodrigues, and WCPUN Executive Director, Shamina de Gonzaga, to discuss his plans to reduce single-use plastics in Miami Beach. The current ordinance prohibits plastic straws from being used/distributed at all city-owned properties and by any private business that leases public spaces, such as sidewalk cafés, and provides for a phase-out approach. While plastic straws represent the 5th most commonly found item in the oceans, other single-use plastics that that could be phased out include plastic utensils, plates, cups and food containers. A pre-emptive state law currently prohibits cities in Florida from banning plastic bags. However, this law is being presently challenged by the City of Coral Gables. Mayor Gelber expressed his willingness to do everything possible to make progress in this area and invited concerned groups to propose tangible action points for his consideration. A recent WWF report noted: “This is the ‘last generation’ that can save nature,” and found that 90% of sea birds have plastics in their stomachs, compared with 5% in 1960, and about half of the world’s shallow-water corals have been lost in the past three decades. Read more