By Anastasia Landeros
Proposition 65 sounds like a good idea, but at its core is a last-ditch effort by out-of-state plastic bag companies to save their California market.
The proposition reads that redirecting money earned by carry-out plastic bag sales should be put into an environmental fund to help save the planet and end global warming.
Before punching “Yes” on the ballot, look further down the line at the Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum, also known as Proposition 67, that will ban carry-out plastic bags altogether.
Voters may be having déjà vu right about now wondering, “Wasn’t this already decided on?”
The answer is yes.
Senate Bill 270, or the Single-Use Carryout Bag Ban, was passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014.
The law was put on hold, however, when the plastics industry challenged it to prevent it from being enforced.
Proposition 65 would amend SB 270 by requiring the revenue made by single-use plastic bags to be placed in a special environmental fund instead of continuing to allow retailers to keep the profits.
While that sounds good and environmentally friendly, wouldn’t getting rid of the bags altogether be the more sustainable thing to do?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch between California and Hawaii is enough evidence to argue yes.
These patches accumulate trash that breaks down into microplastics that, in turn, fish and birds ingest. Larger animals also ingest larger debris found floating in the ocean, like plastic bottles and bags.
Sustainability and keeping our oceans clean should start with banning single-use plastic bags and voting no on Proposition 65.
As it stands, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t the only garbage patch in our oceans; it’s just the one we know the most about.
According to a podcast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dianna Parker from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program said that there are garbage patches of all shapes and sizes all over the world.
“We know that just about every dead albatross found on Midway Atoll (an island midway between North America and Asia) has some form of plastic in its stomach.
This is a problem,” she said.
Parker goes on to address the “solution” of just skimming the trash off the surface by saying “We did some quick calculations that if you tried to clean up less than one percent of the North Pacific Ocean, it would take 67 ships one year to clean up that portion.”
Instead of spending billions of dollars a year on ocean clean up, let’s reduce plastic pollution at the source- us.
In one of two confusing proposition feuds on the ballot, Propositions 65 and 67 are fighting for the future of plastic bags in California.
Currently, 151 counties and cities across California have bans on plastic bags in place.
Los Angeles County enacted their carry-out ban in 2010 but it still allows for the sale of paper bags for ten cents.
One key ingredient in this proposition war is that, because both of these measures deal with plastics, both cannot pass and become law.
If both propositions pass, the one with the most “yes” votes wins.
It’s not enough just to vote no on Proposition 65.
A yes vote on Proposition 67 is crucial to passing the ban on carry-out plastic bags.
Let’s help the state of California move toward sustainability.
Vote no on Proposition 65 and yes on Proposition 67.