A new law makes California the first state in the U.S. to regulate plastic straws. It is not a complete ban since it only applies to dine-in restaurants, excluding fast food outlets, delis and coffee shops. In addition, it only bans restaurants from automatically giving their customers a plastic straw. A customer can still receive a straw if they ask for one.
“It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it,” said California Governor Jerry Brown as he signed the bill. “And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative. But one thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products.”
This statewide law follows upon bans passed by a number of California cities, including San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Carmel and San Luis Obispo.
California Leads in controlling single-use plastic
“Plastics, in all forms—straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc.—are choking our planet,” Brown wrote.
The state enacted legislation to ban the use of single-use plastic bags in 2014, the only state to do so and that ban was supported in a statewide referendum in 2016. As reported in an article in the LA Times the world did not come to an end.
Hosting the Global Climate Action Summit
A week ago, Governor Brown hosted the Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco that brought together local and global leaders to discuss their commitments to fighting climate change. Read more about it here: Summing Up the Global Climate Action Summit.
At the same time Brown signed legislation blocking the federal government’s attempt to expand offshore oil drilling. Plus, the governor opened the Climate Summit by signing legislation setting a goal to phase out all fossil fuels from powering California’s electricity sector by 2025. See more in: People “Rise for Climate Action” Around the World
Banning Drift Gill Nets
California’s recently introduced legislation did not stop at plastic pollution or climate change. In August, a law passed overwhelmingly to phase out fishing with drift nets in California waters. These nets have been responsible for causing the deaths of thousands of marine animals. See the details in this Blue Ocean article.
California’s recent actions have set an inspiring example for other states and countries to follow, and is a much needed counter balance to the actions and inaction of the Trump Administration.
By Blue Ocean Network
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