Arcata— A unanimous City Council voted tonight to ban plastic bags in Arcata’s grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and retail stores. This vote expands on an ordinance originally adopted by the Council in September. Once approved in a second reading per the city’s legislative procedure, the ban will take effect in six months.
To date, 88 California cities and counties have committed to phasing out bags, only 12 away from 100. Arcata is on track to become number 89, the northernmost California community to phase out plastic bags. One in three Californians live somewhere with a plastic bag ban in effect or coming into effect.
“This important commitment for Arcata shows yet again that we can achieve lasting victories for the ocean and our environment,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “Phasing out plastic bags is the right choice to protect our rivers, beaches, and the Pacific Ocean. I applaud the City Council members for their leadership on this issue.”
Single-use plastic bags are one of the most common garbage items removed from California’s beaches by Ocean Conservancy volunteers. They are a direct threat to ocean wildlife, like the sea turtles that mistake them for edible jellyfish. One in three leatherback sea turtles studied had plastic in their stomachs, most often a plastic bag, according to an analysis of over 370 autopsies. A study by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association found that plastic shopping bags alone make up as much as 8 percent of the garbage that reaches the San Francisco Bay.
“Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the ocean for hundreds of years,” commented Weaver.
Environment California is a state-based, citizen-funded, environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future.