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Groups Say Calif. Not Spending Enough To Reduce Marine Debris

Audio

Aired 3/15/10

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill earlier this month to restore funding for a variety of programs. One of those programs provides grants to local governments for anti-litter programs. But environmental groups say there isn't enough money to keep trash out of the ocean.

Specimens collected by the SEAPLEX expedition. Garbage is being studied for its effects on marine life.
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Above: Specimens collected by the SEAPLEX expedition. Garbage is being studied for its effects on marine life.

Garbage collected by the SEAPLEX expedition. The debris at the center of the North Pacific Ocean has the potential to damage marine life and alter the biological environment.
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Above: Garbage collected by the SEAPLEX expedition. The debris at the center of the North Pacific Ocean has the potential to damage marine life and alter the biological environment.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill earlier this month to restore funding for a variety of programs. One of those programs provides grants to local governments for anti-litter programs. But environmental groups say there isn't enough money to keep trash out of the ocean.

The bill signed by Schwarzenegger restores funding that was suspended during California's most recent budget crisis.

Payments will now resume to various programs that are intended to reduce marine debris.

The funding includes grants for local governments to pay for anti-litter programs.

Steve Aceti is the executive director of the non-profit California Coastal Coalition, which works on efforts to reduce marine litter and other issues.

Aceti says providing $10 million for local governments around the state to share for litter programs is a joke.

"There's $10.5 million in a grant fund for communities," said Aceti. "And probably one community itself could spend that in storm drain filters and other work that should be done to keep litter and debris from getting into the ocean and onto the beaches."

Aceti says what's needed is a comprehensive, statewide anti-litter program.

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