It’s Time to Clean Up the Mess

We’re making a big mess, Dana Point. Too many of us aren’t getting rid of all the plastic bags and paper bags we get from stores and restaurants. And too many of those bags are winding up in our ocean, polluting the environment and actually killing seals and sea birds and the fish who ingest them.

But there’s something you and I can do about this mess, if we act right now!

California consumers receive about 19 billion bags a year, and so Dana Pointers probably get more than 15 million single-use carry bags a year. Fifteen million bags a year! This has got to stop.

Most of the bags we get are plastic, because they’re cheaper. Paper bags cost an average of 4 cents each; plastic bags cost only a penny. Sadly, most of our retail stores and restaurants use plastic. They choose to save money at the expense of our environment.

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We’ll name these stores at another time. We’ll also name the stores who choose paper over plastic. Best of all, we’ll name the really good guys who encourage customers to bring their own re-usable bags and already are helping to protect our city streets and sidewalks, and ocean. (Trader Joe’s, McCool Flowers and Coffee Importers are among the really good guys.)

Here’s where you can help. There is legislation that has already passed the California Assembly and is headed next week for the Senate. AB 1998 would eliminate the dispensing of single use plastic and paper bags. We would be asked to bring our own multi-use carry containers, or we’d have to pay a nickel for a store supplied bag. All of this would begin in 2012. Governor Schwarzenegger has indicated he’ll sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Many communities in California – San Francisco, Manhattan Beach, Malibu & Palo Alto to name a few – have already banned plastic bags. So far, Dana Point has not. This new law would ban single-use bags here and in all surrounding communities that contribute to polluting our ocean.

The Dana Point Earth/Ocean Society strongly supports this legislation, along with 96 other communities, businesses, labor, newspapers and other organizations.

Please let our state Senator Tom Harman know that you support AB 1998. Email his office at emanuel.patrascu@sen.ca.gov, or phone Emanual Patrascu at 714-957-4555. Do it now!

Here is Sen. Harman’s website contact information: http://cssrc.us/web/35/contact_us.aspx

Sen. Harman’s Costa Mesa Office:
950 South Coast Drive, Ste. 240
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: (714) 957-4555
Fax: (714) 957-4560

Sen. Harman’s Sacramento Office:
State Capitol, Room 3070
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4035
Fax: (916) 445-9263

This nifty online tool from Surfrider Foundation will automatically send an email to your California legislator just by entering your zip code. Click here to contact your legislator now!

The Senator is going to vote any minute now on this important issue. Contact Senator Harman today. And tell your City Council members that we want to ban bags here in Dana Point. Let’s clean up our mess!

Don Bernheisel
Dana Point Earth/Ocean Society

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