Thursday, June 11, 2015

Expeditious It Hasn't Been

If the Laredo plastic bag ban has taught me anything it's that the natives can embrace change.  The problem is that change is often stymied by the conservative influence that lurks at every corner.

Laredo is a case study in contradictions.  Our geographical location - that of sitting on the Texas border with Mexico - has a lot to do with that.  When you have a clash of cultures, opinions will vary.  Progress, however, can be achieved, as proven by the determined work of the Rio Grande International Study Center staff and its volunteers.  The bag ban is mostly due to their decade-long persistence to the issue.  It's that kind of political will that can improve our fair city.  What gets in the way is complacency, incompetence and partisanship.

Currently the city's plastic bag ban is in limbo.  It was supposed to take effect two months ago, but a legal challenge from downtown merchants influenced city hall to delay its enforcement until a judgement is handed down.  City officials are encouraging retailers and the public to use reusable bags for most purchases.  But for now, no business is being cited for handing out thin plastic bags to customers.  Wal-Mart, as I understand, is still giving its customers plastic bags.

As messy as this whole process has been, I think it's a big win for the city.  The bag ban's viability is still in question, but Laredoans can take solace in the fact that change is possible.

For all the people and businesses who have made the change to reusable bags, despite the bag ban not being fully enforced, I applaud you.

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