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UCSB Bookstore Fight Plastic Pollution
updated: Apr 03, 2012, 3:00 PM
On April 2nd, the UCSB Bookstore, Housing and Residential Services, and a
coalition of students put aside plastic bags and distributed 3,500 re-usable
bags to students in an effort to promote sustainable alternatives. Santa Barbara
City Council members, Grant House and Cathy Murillo, and community activist,
Kathi King, joined the students and voiced their support for the program.
The UCSB-Plastic Pollution Coalition collaborated with several UCSB
administrative entities, including Housing and Residential Services, to host the
First Annual Day Without A Bag. Students were able to raise over $5,000 in order
to make the event a reality. The unprecedented show of support and collaboration
garnered the attention of the Santa Barbara City Council and the Community
Council member Grant House spoke passionately about the recent vote to draft a
Bag Ban Ordinance for the City of Santa Barbara. BEACON, the Beach Erosion
Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment, of which House is a member, is
responsible for drafting the ordinance. BEACON will also take the lead on
conducting a regional Environmental Impact Report, which will open the doors for
all member cities to pass bans more easily. At the event, House stated his
support for the UCSB project and said, "We have to listen to these kids!"
In recent years, plastic pollution has become a hot topic for cities and nations
throughout the globe. The debate of environmental health over convenience has
found its way into courtrooms and city halls across the United States.
Currently, over 20 cities in California have passed a ban on plastic bags.
Skeptics have questioned whether a legally enforced ban on plastic bags is the
appropriate role of government.
Council member Cathy Murrillo stated, "Someone challenged me, [and said] this
isn't something the government should be doing…well who then?" Many have
suggested enacting a stronger voluntary program, to which Community
Environmental Council representative, Kathi King, said voluntary programs have
only achieved "limited success".
In a state bordered by one of the most famous and breathtakingly beautiful
coastlines in the world, taking steps towards preserving the health of our
oceans seems the only natural and logical thing to do. Though the issue of
plastic bag pollution may seem trivial to some, it is a very important piece to
a larger problem. Students at UCSB are taking an active role in shaping their
future and the future of their children, by raising awareness of this issue and
sending the message that a healthy planet is worth much more than a momentary
As King stated, "a free bag is not a free bag." The students at UCSB realize
this. Perhaps, it is time for lawmakers to realize this as well.
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