California Senate Bill (SB) 568, introduced to help prevent foam litter in the marine environment, passed the CA State Senate in May and is headed to the State Assembly soon! Surfrider Foundation is a co-sponsor of this bill along with Clean Water Action and a big reason that this bill was able to make it through the State Senate was because of grassroots efforts from volunteers and supporters just like you!
What’s It Do?
SB 568 would prohibit a food vendor or restaurant from dispensing prepared food to a customer in a polystyrene foam food container starting in 2015. The compliance date for public schools would be one year later. The bill would also allow a city or school district that has a verifiable recycling program and recycles more than 60% of its foam foodware to continue to dispense food in foam after the ban goes in effect.
Why does it matter?
Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is pervasive in the marine environment and like most plastics, polystyrene is lightweight and floats. When littered, it can be carried from streets and through storm drains out to the ocean. 60-80 percent of all marine debris and 90 percent of floating debris are plastic. In the environment, the containers break down into smaller and smaller pieces and are easily mistaken for food by marine animals. On top of the plastic pollution issues, styrene was recently added to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services list of substances anticipated to cause cancer in humans.
How you can help:
1) Sign Surfrider’s online action alert which is updated for the State Assembly now.
2) Print out the petition and get signatures to help show support in your local community.
3) Follow Yes on SB 568 on facebook and suggest it to your friends!
4) Documenting foam litter that you see. More evidence is always helpful, you can email photos and stories to Surfrider Humboldt.
Arcata Elementary School students celebrated World Oceans Day in 2010 by constructing an art project to symbolize the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, otherwise known as the North Pacific Gyre. This film documents their project and the celebration, and was shown at September’s Ocean Night at the Arcata Theater Lounge.
Come out to our monthly Ocean Night Film Screening at Arcata Theatre Lounge! This Thursday, Sept. 2, we feature September Sessions, A Sheltered Sea – The Journey of The Marine Life Protection Act and The Seagull’s Dream, an Arcata Elementary School documentary about the Pacific Garbage Patch.
Doors at 6:30 p.m., movies at 7 p.m. All ages! Free to members, otherwise donation of $3 requested.
More on the movies…
Thanks to Pete!
Assembly Bill 1998 will reduce dangerous plastic bag litter pollution by banning plastic bags at large retail outlets and charging a 25 cent “green bag fee” for any paper bag purchases. The money from the fee will go to the Paper Bag Pollution Clean Up Fund, which provides for reusable bag giveaway programs.
Plastic bags are a primary component of ocean litter. Over one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from ingestion or entanglement in plastics. This is why on World Oceans Day 2009, the Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme called for an outright ban on thin-film plastic bags worldwide. The plastic litter problem is also costing our state tens of millions of dollars in litter clean up and abatement costs each year.
To read more in a OpEd from Assemblymember Julia Brownley and Enviroment California, click here.
JUNKRide is coming our way! Two members of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Anna Cummins and Dr. Marcus Eriksen, have been bicycling down the coast from Vancouver, BC and will continue to Tijuana, Mexico, stopping along the way to raise awareness of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the dangerous rise of plastics in our ocean waters. The Garbage Patch is a massive gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean estimated to be twice the size of Texas.
Surfrider Foundation Humboldt Chapter and the HSU Surf Club are hosting their presentation this Friday, May 8 at 7 p.m. in Founders Hall room 118. Anna and Marcus will share with us their stories with Algalita, including studying the Garbage Patch and using some of the junk they found to build a raft…a raft they ended up using to cross the ocean. More information can be found here: www.junkraft.com