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Marine Resources may push for bag ban

May 16, 2018
By Chuck Ballaro ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Fort Myers Beach Marine Resources Task Force is considering a push to encourage a local supermarket to follow the lead of one of its east coast stores in banning the use of plastic bags.

Louise Kowitch said during their meeting Wednesday at Town Hall that she got a message from the Publix in Coral Gables that the store was going to end the use of plastic bags, and that she would like to ask the Publix in town to follow suit.

Kowitch asked if they should send letters as citizens or as a group. Mary Rose Spalletta said they should do both, as in both cases they would be speaking for the town.

Kowitch said she would like to nudge other stores such as CVS and 7-Eleven to do the same. The letter would need approval from Town Council.

Speaking of bags, the task force will wait until the next meeting to decide on reusable bags to help them clean up the beach with.

Currently, the task force is looking for sponsors for the bags, for which they have interest verbally, but nothing on the dotted line.

A draft will be put together for businesses to get involved. The hope is to raise as much as $21,000 and give away 2,700 bags.

In other business, the task force also made its first nomination for the "Murphie," given each year to the top citizen in town. Rather than nominate one person, it chose to nominate an entire group.

The beach patrol was nominated for their bird rescues as well as help with the turtles but was unable to come up with an individual. A winner will be needed for the next meeting.

With both the chair and vice chair Bill Veach and Keri Hendry-Weeg absent, the rest of the task force spent a good chunk of time going over the possible designs and concepts for interpretive beach signage.

The goal is to make the signage helpful and engaging to beach goers, with the designer seeking input.

The task force was asked to determine if the content is on point or if there is an alternative message to replace the outlined ones, to limit the signage to three subtopics (primary, secondary and tertiary), fun facts or highlight phrases that will stand out.

There are limits in space and in how tourists read them. The idea was to keep them simple and to find the catch phrases that best conveys the message, is appealing and represent the attitude the team wants to project.

The signs the task force discussed will be 25 percent larger than the old ones and the task force was given rough drafts to consider and there were a lot of them.

Some of the topics discussed were the benefits of dune plant roots, the dangers of litter and plastics for the all animals, the guides to all the birds on the beach and a warning to not feed the birds.

The task force voted 5-0 to submit the drafts for review to the town council.



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