Outer Banks and NC Metros Struggle With Pollution and Insect Issues

In certain parts of North Carolina, especially popular tourist and outdoor entertainment spots, pollution is leading to some serious issues.

The Outer Banks, one of the more popular vacation and outdoor recreational area in the U.S., has been struggling with a pollution issue so severe officials were forced to implement a ban on plastic bags.

But according to The Charlotte Observer, the 2010 ban on plastic bags in the Outer Banks has been ridiculed by state legislators ever since. Representatives Beverly Boswell and John Bradford, along with senators Andre Brock, Bill Cook, Norman Sanderson, and Andy Wells, are planning on moving forward with a new bill that repeals the plastic bag ban.

Across the U.S., more than 45.7 million Americans take a fishing trip each year, and a lot of these individuals go to the Outer Banks for their hunting and fishing needs. The International Gamefish Association states that the Outer Banks, along with the Virgin Islands, are the most likely areas to catch marlins weighing more than 1,000 pounds. In addition to hunting and fishing, nature enthusiasts spend a total $1.5 billion on camping equipment, a major source of income for areas like the Outer Banks.

However, environmental activists worry that these camping, fishing, and hunting trips will become much less frequent if the pollution levels continue to rise and the plastic bag ban is lifted.

“We would definitely like to see more pro-environmental legislation,” said Dan Crawford of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. “If you take a quick look at the score card, you see that there is not a lot of positive, environmental legislation being considered right now.”

However, pollution isn’t the only problem that could turn off tourists from the North Carolina region.

CBS North Carolina reports that four state metros were recently ranked in the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list, and three made it into the top 25.

Raleigh-Durham, Asheville, Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, and Charlotte all made the Top 50 list this year. Raleigh-Durham ranked at number 12 on the list, followed by Charlotte (19), Asheville (25), and Greensboro (42). Across the entire country, pest control services generated roughly $12.3 billion dollars in 2016, and these cities will certainly contribute to 2017’s earnings.

It’s up to people at the individual level to keep their own homes clean and clutter free to prevent bed bug infestations, but it’s on state legislators and environmentalists to stop pollution from driving away tourists.

“A lot depends,” said Gary McCallie, North Carolina Conservation Network policy director, “on the legislature making good choices in the budget.”

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