Support Legislation and Practices that Will Halt the Infusion of Debris into our Ocean

by Robin Yeager on 01/25/2010

in Ocean

On any day, regardless of weather, you can drive along the California coast and see people doing nothing more than staring at the ocean. I assume most of these folks, like me, are drawn to the ocean for the peace it brings from the stresses of our daily lives.

The ocean of course provides far more than peace and beauty. It makes our planet habitable and, if we don’t destroy it first, will continue to support multiple ecosystems and diverse marine life.

Last fall, I took a UCLA course called “The Ocean Environment-An Ecosystem Perspective” as part of its Global Sustainability Certificate program. The recent publicity about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch prompted me to focus on measures to halt the infusion of marine debris into the Pacific from our shores.

Several bills designed to reduce marine debris are pending in the California Legislature. I urge you to contact your Senator and Assembly member and tell them to support legislation that will reduce the amount of waste that we generate, and require manufacturers to consider the entire life cycle when they design their products.

Some of the pending bills are:

AB 68 (Single-Use Bag Reduction Act) – Supermarkets and certain other stores would be required to charge a Bag Pollution Cleanup Fee of 25 cents/bag for single-use carry-out bags.

AB 925 (Plastic Beverage Container Caps) – Would require single-use beverage containers to be sold with the cap attached to the container.

AB 283 (Extended Producer Responsibility) – Would charge the California Integrated Waste Management Board with preparing regulations requiring plastic manufacturers to design products to be recycled.

SB 4 – Would make it an infraction to smoke tobacco products (e.g., cigarettes, cigars) on a state coastal beach.

SB 22 – Would authorize the Toxics Information Clearinghouse (via the Dept of Toxic Substances Control) to recommend procedures to expedite review and identification of hazard traits to limit hazardous materials in products.

SB 25 – Would increase the state’s waste reduction targets, implemented through source reduction, recycling and composting.

You can read more about these bills at California’s Bills Information site.


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