Amid the disappointing election results last Tuesday there were some bright spots to be found, especially for residents of California. One of these victories worth of celebration was the passage of Prop 67, the California Bag Ban. Every year eight million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean. Eliminating single-use plastic shopping bags in the state of California will help to protect 840 miles of Pacific coastline from one egregious type of plastic pollution.
Plastic shopping bags have been banned in Long Beach since August 1, 2011, and the ban was among several reasons why I moved to the city. I wanted to live in a community with progressive environmental policies.
Since the Long Beach City Council passed the ban, there has been a reduction in plastic pollution and a decrease in the amount of plastic litter in our community. This law will help protect marine ecosystems (over 90% of seabirds worldwide have plastic pieces in their stomachs) and can also be considered a major victory for human health alongside for the health of our environment. Similar to the 2002’s California Clean Car Standards, which required stricter emission standards than the federal requirements and ultimately set vehicular emission standards for the rest of the nation, California is again leading the way, this time in the war against plastic pollution.