You may have heard of plastic pollution affecting our oceans. In fact, plastic pollution is a humongous issue regarding our oceans, with side effects such as the entanglement of animals, ingestion of plastics by seabirds (which makes the birds think that they are full because plastic cannot be digested, and the birds soon starve to death), and micro-plastics entering the food chain which we are part of. We should care about our oceans. According to National Geographic, our oceans provide 70% of the oxygen we breathe in. When we mess with our oceans, we are literally messing with our main source of oxygen.
According to experts, 80% of plastic is land-based, while only 20% of plastic is ocean-based (from ships). To solve this, we must first reduce the flow of plastic from land. The most logical way of doing this is by using less plastic. Here comes the question: what can you do about it? In California, you can vote Yes on Proposition 67 and No on Proposition 65.
In 2014, a California bill which called for a takeout bag ban was passed but the bill wasn’t enforced due to tremendous action from plastic companies. This November, there will be a referendum whether to overturn or pass the 2014 state law. There are two Propositions on the ballot: Proposition 67 and Proposition 65. Further, a bag ban is crucial because up to $107 million are spent annually to combat plastic bag pollution just in California according to saveourshores.org http://saveourshores.org/.
According to www.lao.ca.gov http://www.lao.ca.gov/, there are three parts to Proposition 67 (called the referendum) and they are as follows: Fully calls for stores to stop providing single-use carryout bags to customers. This is a takeout bag ban. Requires a charge of at least 10 cents for other carryout bags (such as reusable plastic and recycled paper bags). If someone doesn’t bring their own bag, they can choose to pay at least 10 cents extra for a recycled paper bag or a reusable plastic bag the store gives them according to voterguide.sos.ca.gov http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/. Stores would retain the revenue from the sale of plastic bags for reimbursement. In addition, certain low-income customers don’t have to pay that charge. Creates new standards for the material content and durability of reusable plastic carryout bags.
On the other hand, Proposition 65 (called the initiative) calls for the revenue from any future statewide law similar to Proposition 67 (including Proposition 67) to be used for environmental programs. Proposition 65 is absolutely unrelated to the bag ban. Proposition 65 is a crafty maneuver by the plastic companies to oppose the bag ban. If Proposition 65 passes along with Proposition 67, the use of revenues will depend on the number of yes votes for the initiative or the referendum. If there are more yes votes for the referendum, the revenues goes to the stores. If there are more yes votes for the initiative, the revenues will go to environmental groups.
My ideal combination of propositions would be a yes on Proposition 67 and a no on Proposition 65. This would mean that there would be a carryout bag ban with the revenues going to stores for reimbursement. According to Save Our Shores, plastic manufacturers’ lobbyists are going to spend $50 million to convince you to vote no on Proposition 67. You have the power to oppose that by voting Yes on 67. I urge you to do the same, as this will help protect wildlife and help us save up to $107 million used to combat plastic bag pollution. Vote Yes on 67 and No on 65.
“The Problem With Marine Debris.” California Coastal Commission, https://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/marinedebris.html https://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/marinedebris.html. Accessed 12 October 2016.
“Proposition 67.” Legislative Analyst’s Office, http://www.lao.ca.gov/BallotAnalysis/Proposition?number=67&year=2016 http://www.lao.ca.gov/BallotAnalysis/Proposition?number=67&year=2016. Accessed 12 October 2016.
“Prop 67 – Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags. Referendum.” California General Election – November 8, 2016 – Official Voter Information Guide, http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/quick-reference-guide/67.htm http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/quick-reference-guide/67.htm. Accessed 12 October 2016.
“End Pollution. Ban Plastic Bags.” Save Our Shores, http://saveourshores.org/what-we-do/plastic-bag-ban/ http://saveourshores.org/what-we-do/plastic-bag-ban/. Accessed 12 October 2016.
“Save the Plankton, Breathe Freely.”, National Geographic, http://nationalgeographic.org/activity/save-the-plankton-breathe-freely http://nationalgeographic.org/activity/save-the-plankton-breathe-freely. Accessed 12 October 2016.
Figure 1: Implementation of Referendum Would Be Affected by Outcome of Proposition 65. 2016, http://www.lao.ca.gov/ballot/2016/prop67-fig1.png http://www.lao.ca.gov/ballot/2016/prop67-fig1.png. Accessed 12 October 2016.