Photo by Keeley Smith.
They stood in front of a large inflatable turtle, carrying signs emblazoned with “Save the Bag Ban” in hand-painted writing.
A group of students from various UC chapters of the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) convened in Long Beach today to rally the city’s constituents against a ballot measure threatening to repeal the State Senator Ricardo Lara-authored Senate Bill 270, which banned the distribution of single-use plastic bags statewide.
“I was deeply saddened, especially since the measure already passed” said CALPIRG leader Semi Toluwani Cole of the ballot measure. “It makes me want to stand up and ensure the voice of the community is heard.”
Cole, a student at UC Riverside, stood as the spokesperson of the conference, calling on leaders and community members to resist what he described as the interests of plastic bag makers and do what is right for the environment.
“As a state, we already banned plastic bags,” he said.
The CALPIRG pres conference was part of a statewide push on behalf the organization for an “alternative spring break,” in which students from the state’s UC chapters are pairing advocacy with cleaning up beaches and rivers.
Community members will have the chance to either vote “yes” to uphold the contested legislation, or vote “no” to repeal it, thereby circumventing the $.10 cost of recyclable takeout bags, this fall, on November 8, 2016.
Long Beach, which enacted it own ban on plastic bags within city boundaries before the state legislation was passed, has lived with such a ban for years. SB 270 was officially passed in 2014, and was enacted in July of 2015.