Friday, March 6, 2009


2009 Ocean Litter Legislation

Based on the Ocean Protection Council's recently published strategy on reducing ocean litter and a concerted effort by the environmental community to highlight this problem, the California Legislature has put forth several bills geared at reducing marine debris in the current session. Specifically, Surfrider is advocating for Senate Bill 4 (Oropeza) which would reduce cigarette butt litter in state parks and beaches.

Other bills addressing marine debris include AB 68 plastic bag fee, AB 1358 addressing the prevalence of polystyrene and AB 283 proposing an Extended Producer Responsibility regime.

Check out this recent article on anti-litter legislation for more information. Also, keep up to date with Surfrider Action Alerts.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Hold Onto Your Butt--State Senate Bill Introduced

California State Senator Oropeza recently introduced SB 4, a bill that would prohibit smoking on State Parks and beaches.

The Surfrider Foundation is leading the charge on supporting this legislation! We have set up an action alert that will go California legislators--asking them to pass this legislation. Go here to take action.

We also have the following fact sheet about SB 4 and we encourage you to print up and distribute in your local communities.

Statewide Environmental Organizations Support SB 4
The No Smoking at State Parks and Beaches Act.

The bill, introduced by State Senator Oropeza, would prohibit smoking on any state coastal beach or state park unit, except in adjacent parking lots.

While cigarette butts may seem small, they are a major problem at our local beaches, in the ocean, and throughout watersheds. Cigarette butts discarded onto sidewalks and streets eventually make their way into storm drains that lead directly to the ocean; causing harm to wildlife and water quality.

These toxic pieces of trash are increasingly littering our parks and beaches. Over 1.3 million cigarette butts were retrieved in one day at Coastal Cleanup Day in 2008. To make matters worse, improperly littered cigarette butts have caused wild fires in the state of California.

Environmental Costs of Cigarette Litter:

**Many smokers incorrectly believe that cigarette filters are made of biodegradable cotton. In fact, cigarette filters contain a type of plastic (cellulose acetate), which slowly breaks down, but unfortunately never fully decomposes.

**Cigarette filters are designed to trap toxic chemicals. When submerged in water, the toxic chemicals trapped in the filter leak out into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and aquatic life. Studies indicate the chemicals in cigarettes are leaching into our water ways and are deadly to water fleas (a small but important microorganism that lives in most lakes, streams and the ocean).

**Wildlife can mistake cigarette butts as food which may interfere with their ability to properly eat and digest food.

**According to the California Department of Forestry (over a five-year average), smoking has been found to annually cause more than 100 California forest fires and more than 3,400 acres of damage.

**Smoking has caused four of the 25 worst wildfires in California, from 1929-1999, including the 1999 Jones wildfire, which destroyed 964 structures and the 1999 Oakland Hills fire, the largest dollar fire loss in United States history. The $1.5 billion blaze destroyed 3,354 homes, 456 apartment buildings and 2,000 vehicles.

Numerous local governments have already imposed bans on smoking, including bans in local parks, beaches and piers in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Newport Beach, Redondo Beach, San Clemente, Santa Monica, Seal Beach, San Diego, and Solana Beach. Help Keep our Beaches and Parks Clean!


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  CA Policy Manager:
Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

Southern California Field Manager:
Nancy Hastings

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Angela Howe


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