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San Diego Leaders Urge Support For Plastic Bag Ban

Photo by Christopher Maue

(Left to right) Roger Kube, Surfrider Foundation; Sherri Lightner, San Diego City Council president, and Dan Jacobson, legislative director for Environment California urge support for Proposition 67, San Diego City Hall, Oct. 3, 2016.

San Diego already approved a plastic bag ordinance in July, which is set to take effect next year. A statewide ban would take effect immediately.

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Environmental leaders and San Diego City Council president Sherri Lightner on Monday urged support for Proposition 67, a California measure on the November ballot to uphold a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

They gathered outside San Diego City Hall in front of a giant inflatable sea turtle.

“To a sea turtle, a plastic bag looks like a jelly fish, which is dinner,” said Environment California’s Dan Jacobson. “They ingest them and then they end up starving to death because they can’t eat their real food.”

San Diego already approved a plastic bag ordinance in July. The measure is set to take effect in April 2017.

The city’s ban will continue regardless of the state outcome on Election Day, Lightner said.

The only impact “would be a time delay,” she said. “When everyone votes 'yes' on 67, this will go into effect immediately,” Lightner said. “It is now time for voters of California to demonstrate their commitment to protecting the environment for generations to come."

San Diego is among 150 cities and counties across the state that have outlawed the bags.

Proposition 67 is intended to help reduce the estimated 192 million single-use plastic bags that are distributed in California every week, therefore decreasing the amount of plastic pollution flowing in the oceans.

“Marine debris, up to 90 percent of which is plastic, has killed or injured more than 267 species, primarily through ingestion and entanglement,” said Roger Kube with the Surfrider Foundation.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law prohibiting plastic bags two years ago. But soon after, the plastic bag industry launched a petition drive and collected enough signatures to place the ban on the ballot.

Opponents of the measure say a ban would jeopardize thousands of bag manufacturing jobs. They also argue grocery store chains would make a big profit on bag sales.

Under a statewide ban, grocery and convenience stores could no longer offer the plastic bags. They would be required to charge at least 10 cents for a paper or reusable bag.

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