Trashed Beaches, Trashed Bills

Last week's storms trashed Southland beaches (Allen J. Schaben, LA Times)

Today’s guest blogger is Kirsten James, Water Quality Director at Heal the Bay.

Recently seven sperm whales breached off the coast of Italy and died soon thereafter. A report out of Tuscia University found that the guts were filled with plastic debris and that this was the cause of death. This is by no means an isolated incident. Our oceans are full of plastic pollution.

Closer to home, last week’s torrential storms continued the trend of depositing literally tons of trash on our beaches and into the ocean.  What happens to this debris?  For most it is out of sight, out of mind.  However, the story of the sperm whales brings to light the deadly truth.

Unfortunately on the very same day last week that storms were hitting Southern California and literally trashing our beaches, California legislators decided to kill AB 68 and AB 87, bills that would have reduced the number of plastic bags that end up in our ocean.  Earlier this month, the cities of Carson, Downey, Duarte, Irwindale, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Signal Hill, South El Monte and South Gate petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to reverse trash regulations that aim to reduce the amount of harmful debris entering our waterways.

In other words, many of our local leaders are hindering efforts to find solutions to this plastic plague in our oceans.  We may have temporarily dried out here in Southern California but we must call upon our leaders to protect the waters that sustain us all.

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