By Desiree Fragoso for Island Eye News
New rules will soon go into effect in the City of Isle of Palms that may impact your next trip to the beach.
Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes anywhere on the Isle of Palms beach and beach access paths will be illegal as of January 1, 2020.
Additionally, starting on January 1st, island businesses will be prohibited from distributing Polystyrene/plastic foam products (also known as Styrofoam), plastic straws and stirrers at the point of sale. Commonly used Polystyrene/plastic foam products include coolers, ice chests, cups, bowls, plates, clamshells. All disposable food service ware meant for one-time use, must be of recyclable or compostable materials accepted by the Charleston County recycling program.
Also, citizens will no longer be able to bring and use single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, Polystyrene (Styrofoam) food containers, cups and balloons on the Isle of Palms beach.
The new regulations are aimed at improving our environment by reducing litter and encouraging the use of reusable, recyclable and compostable products. Plastic and foam products filter into our waterways and the ocean, where they are harmful to marine life. They break down into smaller pieces of plastic that enter the food chain of animals and eventually to our plates. Cigarette butts are on the #1 littered items found on beaches and contain toxic chemicals that have a significant impact on the environment and ecosystem.
“There is no doubt that plastic and Styrofoam products and cigarettes pose a threat to our environment. The trash that is left on the beach makes its way to our waterways and the ocean and is deadly to marine life. Plastic bags look like jellyfish and block the digestive tracks of sea turtles. We couldn’t sit idly by while seeing how this problem was affecting our beautiful beach,” said Mayor Jimmy Carroll.
The Isle of Palms Police Department will be responsible for enforcing these regulations. Violating the plastics ban regulations may result in a $100 citation, and additional infractions may result in higher fines. People caught smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes may face an up to $25 fine.
The City’s goal is not to be punitive but encourage and ensure a cleaner, safer, healthier and more enjoyable environment for people, wildlife and marine life.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to visit the City’s website at www.iop.net for additional information on these regulations.