For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 29, 2013
San Diego— Elected officials, business and civic leaders, and environmentalists convened at SeaWorld San Diego to declare their support for eliminating single-use plastic bags in San Diego and statewide.
“California’s leadership is recognized throughout the world for our policies to protect the environment,” said Senator Alex Padilla, who has authored a bill (SB 405) to phase-out single-use plastic bags in California. “We treasure our mountains, deserts and beaches, and of course, our oceans. I am thrilled with Environment California’s efforts to phase-out single-use plastic bags in our state. They know, as I do, that single-use plastic bags litter our coastline and kill thousands of seabirds, fish and marine mammals along our shores.”
SeaWorld San Diego has already taken steps to reduce the use single-use plastic bags in California. “In the spring of 2011 we stopped using plastic bags and started offering our guests paper bags,” said John Reilly, president of SeaWorld San Diego. “That one change to our business operation resulted in a reduction of one million bags per year that would have ended up in a landfill or worse, in the ocean.”
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. Other studies show that plastic bags are 8 percent of the garbage volume washing into the San Francisco Bay and up to 19 percent of garbage volume flowing out to sea on the Los Angeles River.
“Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the ocean for hundreds of years, and San Diego is ready to make this change,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “Over 10,000 San Diegans have signed our petition in support of a citywide plastic bag ban. Dozens of local businesses have endorsed this policy because they understand how important clean beaches are to San Diego’s economy.”
Over 80 California cities and counties have banned plastic bags, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Dana Point, Huntington Beach, Solana Beach, and Santa Monica. Together, these local governments represent nearly 1 in 3 Californians. San Jose’s plastic bag ban led to an 89 percent reduction in plastic bags polluting city storm drains and a 60 percent drop in plastic bags in San Jose’s creeks.
Environment California is a state-based, citizen-funded, environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future.