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Nathan Weaver,
Environment California

Sacramento to draft ordinance that would ban plastic bags

Citywide ban would protect local wildlife and ocean health
For Immediate Release

Sacramento, CA – Sacramento is one step closer to protecting ocean wildlife and ocean health. Today, the City Council’s Law and Legislation Committee moved forward to draft an ordinance that would ban single-use plastic bags citywide. This first step puts the ordinance on track for a final vote by the full City Council as early as summer 2013.

“This important step forward for Sacramento will show yet again that local communities can achieve lasting victories for ocean and environmental health,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “We continue to build more and more momentum to keep plastic out of the Pacific. Every week, cities, towns, counties and others are working to ban single-use plastic bags that pollute our oceans.”

Plastic bags blight our cities as urban tumbleweeds. They are a direct threat to wildlife—like the Pacific leatherback sea turtle—that mistake them for food. One in three leatherback sea turtles have plastic bags in their stomachs, according to research published in 2009.

Sacramento’s plastic bags reach the ocean through city storm drains when rain sweeps litter into the Sacramento River and towards the San Francisco Bay. Inland rivers remain are a major source of plastic pollution.

More than 60 cities and counties in California have banned single-use plastic bags in recent years. Most ordinances cover large grocery stores, pharmacies, and retailers, while some extend to restaurants as well. In general, cities are requiring a small fee for paper bags in order to encourage reusable bag use.

“A bag ban in Sacramento would protect the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific from toxic plastic pollution and keep our precious marine wildlife safe,” commented Weaver.