California legislature fails to ban plastic bags

Single use plastic bags end up littering roadways across the U.S.

 

Even with backing from key environmental groups, California’s state Senate failed to pass a ban on single-use plastic bags that consumers continually get from retail outlets in the state.   

With a final vote of 14-21, AB 1998 had been proclaimed as a hidden tax on consumers – “a costly bill that provides no real solutions to California´s litter problem and would have further jeopardized California´s already strained economy,” according to Tim Shestek, senior director of State Affairs for the American Chemistry Council.   

“We are dismayed that this proactive environmental bill, which was passed by the Assembly and had the pledged support of the Governor, could not make it past our California State Senate,” says Angela Howe,  Managing Attorney for the Surfrider Foundation.   

Wildlife consume these plastic bags, mistaking them for food, often causing them painful deaths

 

Howe said that volunteers had picked up over 70,000 of these bags on California beaches in one day.   

Californians consume upwards of 19 million plastic bags per year, which require approximately 8 million barrels of oil to produce.   

Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, said the initiative would move from a state to a localized initiative. Los Angeles C0unty,as well as cities of Berkeley, Santa Monica and San Jose are among the cities and counties working towards banning those white plastic bags that often wind up littering highways and wrecking havoc on wildlife and the environment.   

Sad to see that once again politicians can’t get behind this measure and recognize the hazard these thin plastic bags represent. Let’s hope local and regional pols can get the job done.

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