Disposable polystyrene bodyboards: Maui is one of the first states to ban single-use boogie boards | Photo: Keep Britain Tidy

Maui County passed an ordinance banning the sale, rental, and distribution of disposable polystyrene bodyboards.

It's one of the first laws to put an end to a several-decade-old environmental catastrophe.

Low-cost, single-use bodyboards will no longer be available in Maui's local seaside shops, big retailers, and supermarkets.

The directive goes into effect on August 9, 2022, and follows the path of the original plastic bag ban introduced in 2011.

However, the original law did not contemplate this plague that has been contaminating soils, beaches, and water bodies with toxic substances and paint for over 20 years.

As a result, Councilmember Tamara Paltin introduced ordinance No. 5236 to limit the number of boogie boards discarded on Maui beaches every year.

"This is an amazing step in the right direction," notes Sol Morey, the son of Tom Morey, the inventor of the modern bodyboard.

"After creating the first boogie in 1971, Tom Morey kept building these crafts and always steered towards reliable materials to make it more durable and longer lasting."

"For years, we created surfboards and boogies without attempting the use of styrofoam because, basically, it sucked for strength."

"Although Tom was able to bring boogies into the scene and had very little to do with creating its empire via distribution of cheap boards, corporate companies felt the need to create cheap boards with styrofoam and slap our family name on them."

"To that end, customers would then have to come back and buy another one, which enraged our father of the sport."

"Tom was always tackling the companies with how to make them stop branding our name on crap that didn't live up to the aim of having something that lasted for half a century like the original board we still have."

The Durable Bodyboard Rule

Sol Morey believes that communities should aim to ban all styrofoam-based ocean products from surf breaks.

Disposable polystyrene bodyboards easily break into small pieces.

The substances in these low-quality bodyboards are a health hazard for marine life, including turtles and seabirds, who mistake foam for food.

Polystyrene is one of the most common forms of pollution in the world.

"As a former Ocean Safety Lieutenant, I've seen the pollution and harm disposable polystyrene boogie boards can cause," adds Tamara Paltin.

"From an environmental perspective, renting a durable bodyboard that can be returned after use makes much more sense."

The Maui County ordinance was passed unanimously and signed into law by Michael Paul Victorino, Mayor of Maui County, on August 9, 2021.

"It's time to eliminate disposable products to the extent possible. It can save everyone money and help the environment," concludes Victorino.

According to the new law, "disposable bodyboards" are identified as boogie boards made using a polystyrene foam core, as opposed to "durable bodyboards" made from high-density polyethylene or polypropylene cores.

Simultaneously, the legislation encourages businesses to provide customers with quality bodyboard rentals.

Hopefully, Maui's pioneering ban on single-use boogie boards will expand across the Hawaiian islands, mainland America, and the rest of the world.

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