Plastic bags like this will become hard to find in Victoria after July 1. News files

EDITORIAL: Is a plastic bag ban just a symbolic gesture?

All eyes around the CRD will be on Victoria watching to see what happens after July 1

It’s no secret that plastic is bad for the environment, and yet it’s everywhere. We even use it to carry other plastic, at least for now.

Municipalities across the Capital Region are reviewing potential bans on single-use plastic bags, meaning retail businesses would be prohibited from supplying shopping bags for free, or at a cost.

So far, Victoria is the only city who has made a decisive action, implementing the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw, effective July 1, 2018.

Both Esquimalt and Oak Bay have said their plan is to wait and watch, and make decisions for their own municipalities once they see the effectiveness of Victoria’s ban.

We all know how muddy the borders of our region can be, and while each municipality makes decisions from their individual perspective, one has to wonder how effective a ban will be, if not region-wide.

Readers have written to us debating the “single-use” term saying plastic bags carry in their groceries and then carry out their garbage. The financial benefits of these bags pulling double duty cannot be discounted.

While no one likes seeing plastic bags or other debris littering our beaches, could the bag ban be more of a symbolic gesture to the environmentally-friendly gods?

Obviously the jury is still out when it comes to evaluating whether this is the logical next step to a greener future. And all eyes will be on Victoria, so the heat is on to do this right. It will be imperative that the City listens to the impact a ban will have on both merchants and residents, as well as Mother Earth.

The grand experiment will be interesting, to say the least, and kicks off Canada Day weekend, surely a busy time for shoppers stocking up on BBQ essentials – at the grocery store.

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