Sacramento – Motivated by a love for the environment and a commitment to protecting the ocean and marine wildlife, 50 members of CALPIRG Students, the California Student Public Interest Research Group chapters stretching from UC Berkeley to UC San Diego officially launched their campaign to Save the Statewide Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags.
Accompanied by a 30 foot inflatable sea turtle, students came to the Capitol to deliver a message: “Students care about California and care about our oceans. We shouldn’t let something we use for a few minutes pollute our environment for decades. That’s why we need to save the bag ban. To do that, we are going to register tens of thousands of voters, make hundreds of announcements in classrooms, and do an alternative spring break travelling the state to build support for a yes vote in November.” Said Liam Horstick, statewide board chair of CALPIRG Students and a sophomore at UCSB.
According to Californians Against Waste, the problem is that millions of bags pollute the oceans every year. The bags do not biodegrade but instead break into small pieces and fish, whales, and sea turtles mistake the plastic pollution for food and get sick when they eat it. Kristof Almasy, a UCLA junior said, “As young people, we care a lot about the environment and experts from the World Economic Forum have warned that we are on track to have more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050. We won’t stand for that.”
147 cities and counties have already passed local bag bans and Governor Brown signed into law a statewide ban on single use plastic bags, SB 270 written by Senators Padilla, DeLeon, and Lara in 2014. Soon after signing the bill into law, several plastics companies poured millions into a campaign fund to repeal the ban. The ballot measure put the statewide law on hold until the voters decide in November.
The students who attended the event used the day to also gain support from members of the legislature, meeting with several of the original supporters and asking for their support on this campaign.
Paid for by the California Student Public Interest Research Group