Martinez— The City Council has officially entered the race to reach 100 plastic bag bans, voting unanimously to pursue a phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags. Next, city staff will draft an ordinance and complete environmental studies, putting Martinez on track to phase out plastic bags in 2014. To date, 87 California cities and counties have banned plastic bags, only 13 away from 100. One in three Californians now live somewhere with a plastic bag ban.
“This important commitment for Martinez 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.