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Statewide plastic bag ban bill moves ahead


By: Environment California

Sacramento April 1, 2013 – Legislation to ban single-use plastic bags across California took another step toward becoming law. The Assembly's Natural Resources Committee voted this afternoon to approve AB 158, setting the stage for a final vote on the Assembly floor later this session. As written by Assemblymember Marc Levine (San Rafael), the bill would ban single-use plastic checkout bags in grocery, drug and convenience stores.

"This important step forward shows yet again that we can achieve lasting victories for ocean and environmental health," said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. "Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our ocean for hundreds of years."

Plastic bags are a direct threat to wildlife—like the Pacific leatherback sea turtle—that mistakes them for food. One in three leatherback sea turtles autopsied since 1968 were found to have plastic in their stomachs, according to research published in 2009. The bags are also one of the four most common items littered on California's beaches according to Ocean Conservancy's annual beach cleanup data.

Over seven million Californians, nearly one out of every five people in the state, now live in a community that has approved a single-use plastic bag ban. More communities, including Chico, Sacramento, and the City of Los Angeles, are on track to finalize plastic bag bans later this year.

A similar measure, SB 405 introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), will be heard in the California State Senate's Environmental Quality Committee later this month.

Environment California is a state-based, citizen-funded, environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future.


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