The fight against single-use plastics took center stage in Ocean Beach Saturday. Many of the gathered volunteers are supporters of a new law that, if passed, would require plastic manufacturers in California to drastically reduce production over the next decade.
The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County hosted a beach cleanup on Saturday, also attended by assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez and Todd Gloria, and County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
“We're on the verge of doing something huge in California and joining the European Nations and actually taking plastics seriously," Gonzalez said.
Senate Bill 54 with the parallel Assembly Bill 1080, known as the "California Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act," aims for a statewide 75% reduction of waste generated from single-use packaging by 2030.
Supporters say an estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean every year, the equivalent of a plastic-filled garbage truck every minute.
According to the Surfrider Foundation and Oceana - 4 out of 5 items picked up during their beach cleanups last year were plastic.
Nina Diamond, a volunteer, used her Saturday morning to take action and participate in this event.
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“I think really the change starts here where you're choosing to make a difference in your environment and choosing not to use plastics at all,” Diamond said.
But critics of the legislation, bolstered by intense lobbying from industry opponents, argue the laws would add significant costs to small businesses and ultimately consumers.
According to sources compiled in the bill, 670 billion pounds of plastic are produced globally every year with that number expected to triple over the next 40 years if drastic steps aren't taken.
Head to the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County calendar for upcoming beach cleanups.