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New Tactics In California To Reduce Ocean Trash

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Aired 3/9/10

Environmental groups struck out last year with legislative efforts in Sacramento to reduce the sources of ocean garbage. But this year, several groups are adding a new strategy.

Environmental groups struck out last year with legislative efforts in Sacramento to reduce the sources of ocean garbage. But this year, several groups are adding a new strategy.

Environmental groups say plastic does not biodegrade and is bad for marine life and the health of the ocean.

Research shows nearly 80 percent of the plastic found in the ocean comes from activities on land.

Legislative efforts to pass bills to reduce plastic pollution at its source have been unsuccessful.

Gina Goodhill works as an Oceans Advocate for Environment California.

"In 2009, several environmental groups, including Environment California, were really working on a slew of bills on the statewide level," Goodhill said.

The failed bills included a plastic bag fee and a ban on single-use Styrofoam take-out containers.

Goodhill said the groups are not giving up on legislative efforts in Sacramento.

But she said this year they're trying a new tactic.

"We think the local level is actually the way to go," Goodhill said. "Because even though the state hasn't realized it, cities are realizing it. That plastic is pervasive in the environment, it's harming the oceans, it's harming their communities and their tourism and they need to actually start taking a stand on this issue."

She said 38 cities in California have passed several policies to reduce ocean trash, including bans on single-use styrofoam take-out containers.

Goodhill recently met with representatives from some cities in San Diego County to assess interest in passing similar measures.

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