SLUG REPORT > Students push for local cities to ban plastic bags
UC Santa Cruz students are joining the fight to ban plastic bags in Santa Cruz. The campus chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group, or CALPIRG, staged a demonstration in Quarry Plaza on the UCSC campus on Wednesday, March 7. The students gave a brief presentation and handed out literature to people passing through the bustling plaza. The demonstration included a six-foot-tall board covered with bags to illustrate the 380 plastic grocery bags used in California every second.
“It’s time for Santa Cruz to join the movement to protect our oceans,” says Kelsey Grimsley, the UCSC CALPIRG chapter chair and oceans campaign coordinator. “With Mayor Don Lane’s support, we urged the city council to ban the bag. With enough cities on board, we have a lot of momentum for the plastic bag ban to pass statewide.”
The group was able to collect more than 4,000 student signatures, which amounts to a quarter of all students enrolled at the university. About 7,000 residents have also signed the petition.
“We’re starting to change the mindset on single-use items in general,” says David Gamburd, the USCS CALPIRG campus organizer. “We’re taking one step at a time. This is definitely a winnable issue.”
The county’s plastic bag ban, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors last September, is scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday, March 20. The law was recently amended to exclude restaurants as a result of a lawsuit filed by the San Francisco-based Save the Plastic Bag Coalition. The coalition has filed similar lawsuits against communities across the state that have proposed prohibiting plastic bags in restaurants. The UCSC students involved in the push for such bans hope that the cities within the Santa Cruz area will follow in the county’s footsteps and oust plastic bags.