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World Oceans Day
Plastic pollution covers our beaches and pollutes our oceans

Report on World Oceans Day

Jun 25, 2018
by Tish Levee

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The theme of World Oceans DayJune 8th, was preventing plastic pollution.

Annually, nearly nine million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans, the equivalent of dumping a rubbish truck full of plastic into the water every minute. Plastics use has increased 20-fold in the last 50 years; it’s expected to double again in the next 20 years. Globally only 14% of plastic is collected for recycling. Find great resources for preventing plastic pollution at worldoceansday.org/annual-theme.

The good news—single-use plastic bans are growing.

• On June 7th, Sea World announced that its 12 theme parks had removed all single-use plastic drinking straws and plastic bags, while Royal Caribbean committed to rid its 50 ship fleet of plastic drinking straws this year.

The European Union just announced it wants to ban ten different single-use plastic items, including plastic straws and cutlery, making up 70% of all litter in the water and on the beaches of the EU.

India plans to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022—a real game changer for the planet; its population is 1.3 billion. In March the Indian state of Karnataka enacted such a ban; nearly 43 tons of illegal plastics were seized in four months in the capital.

  Ikea will ban all single-use plastic products from its shops and restaurants by 2020. With annual sales of over $24 billion, Ikea operates in 41 countries.

• Last month, San Francisco joined Los Angeles and Portland in banning styrofoam.

• July 1st Seattle will become the first US city to ban plastic straws and single-use plastic utensils. 

Kenya enacted the world’s most stringent plastic bag ban in August 2017. Anyone using, producing, or selling a plastic bag faces up to four years in jail or a $38,000 fine. 

Act locally to keep plastics out of the ocean.

Join Zero Wastes Sonoma’s “Sip it Sonoma” in riding Sonoma County of plastic straws. Over 500 million plastic straws are discarded daily in the US—that’s 175 billion straws a year. “Sip it Sonoma” promotes restaurants only giving straws if requested.

For a list of Sonoma County restaurants and bars that don’t offer straws or use paper or compostable ones, see “The War on Straws Comes to Sonoma County” in a recent issue of Sonoma Magazine at the magazine’s website.

SB 100—the 100% clean electricity bill is back.

Finally scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee, which snatched it from the floor of the Assembly last September, it will become law IF it gets out of Committee, as the Senate passed it last year. Phone Assembly and Senate leadership and Governor Brown, asking them to support a clean energy future for California, with 100% clean energy by 2045.

Rising sea level in San Francisco is getting worse as land sinks.

According to a March study in Science Advances, by 2100 land lost to sea level rise and subsidence could be between 50 and 165 square miles, as compared to the 20 square miles that would be inundated by sea level rise alone. Half the runways at San Francisco Airport could be underwater by 2100. Groundwater extraction causes subsidence—parts of San Jose have sunk as much as 12 feet. Projections of sea level rise have increased dramatically since I attended the Rising Seas Summit in Boston in 2015.

Vacation at home. You can do a lot locally without a car.

Once again gas prices are rocketing up this summer, so it’s a good time to “take a Sunday drive without a car.”

• Route 29—Sonoma County Transit’s weekend shuttle to the coast has expanded service this year, from June 9th to Sept. 2nd. This is one of the best deals around.

• Take the Muir Woods shuttle—Marin Transit Route 66—on weekends all year and weekdays till August 10th. Take Golden Gate transit to Marin City and skip the car entirely.

• Explore another locality—Petaluma, Sonoma, the River, on Sonoma County Transit.

The 13th Annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference was June 22nd.

Look for an article about it online at sonomacountygazette.com.

© Tish Levee, 2018

For the Planet by Tish Levee

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