September 22, 2010

New Pollution Prevention BaitTanks Keep Toxins out of the Ocean & Save Some Fish on the Way

For the benefit of the marine environment, Save Our Shores recently unveiled a new pollution prevention project to collect the #1 form of marine debris found littering our local beaches and coastlines: cigarette butts.

Marine health, not human health, is the target of this anti-cigarette campaign.

Can you believe Save Our Shores staff and volunteers have removed over 132,337 cigarette butts during beach and river cleanups since 2007? And just wait until we update that stat after this Saturday's Annual Coastal Cleanup Day (Sept. 25th, 9am-noon, all around the world)!

Cigarette filters and left over tobacco contain heavy metals and organic compounds that create acute toxicity in the marine environment. Toxicity and ingestion make cigarette litter a clear and present danger to the success of the recently-established Marine Protected Areas along the Central Coast of California, our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and coa
stlines and waterways across the globe.

Save Our Shores decided to tackle this pollution problem with a new force, and began working with both the Cities of Capitola and Santa Cruz to identify high traffic smoking areas in need of cigarette receptacles. Together, we have begun to strategically place stainless steel cigarette receptacles, called BaitTanks, along the Capitola Esplanade, the Santa Cruz Wharf, and Beach Street in Santa Cruz.

The Bait Tanks are large steel boxes with a shark fin on top that say: "Save some Fish. Feed me butts."

The City of Capitola was eager to take advantage of this opportunity to promote improvements to our coastal resource and provide educational opportunities to residents and visitors. “The cigarette receptacles provided by this program help the City promote a clean coastal environment and dovetail with the City’s ban on smoking on Capitola beach and nearby walkways and streets,” says Steve Jesberg from the City of Capitola.

Save Our Shores will continue to target problematic pollution in our community and develop ways to combat it.

The inventor of the BaitTanks is Mark Armen. Mark's background in recycling led him to the realization that recycling doesen't work for everything, and especially for the little things. After a lot of research and thought, he created the company Gulpable to get his BaitTanks out into the world. Beginning in Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Santa Monica, placement of Mark's BaitTanks has just begun.

For more information on the BaitTanks visit:

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September 16, 2010

Thumbs Down: California Senate is Bought by ACC Lobbyists & Fails to Pass the Plastic Bag Ban

In a disappointing turn of events on the very last day of August's legislative season, the California Senate failed to pass the most important environmental bill of the year, AB 1998, the ban on single-use plastic bags. The bill would have created a uniform policy for the state and remove the need for local municipalities to work on their own separate bans.

The importance of pushing local bans on plastic bag bans and polystyrene take out containers just increased tenfold. Local bans are popping up all over our nation and around the world, and will continue to spread like wildfire.

Both the County of Santa Cruz and City of Santa Cruz have both approved the 'Single Use Bag Reduction Ordinance,' which is waiting for the Environmental Report to be completed before this ordinance goes into effect.

Next up, Save Our Shores is going to put the pressure on the Cities of Capitola, Scotts Valley, and Watsonville to pass their own city-wide bans. Once that happens, Santa Cruz County will likely reduce its plastic bag use by 80% or more.

It gets a little confusing sometimes. In Santa Cruz County, as in all counties, a county-wide law only goes into effect for the unincorporated areas of the county (so not the cities) since the cities within the county have their own governing bodies, and laws. So, for all of Santa Cruz County to have a bag ban in full effect, we need the other three cities to approve the ordinance separately.

In Monterey County, where a plastic bag ban is not yet on the table (don't worry, it will be placed on the table very soon!), Save Our Shores is working on getting the last of the polystyrene bans passed that will create a completely polystyrene-free Monterey County.

Monterey County, as well as the Cities of Monterey, Carmel, Seaside, Pacific Grove, and Del Rey Oaks have each already passed their own bans on polystyrene take out containers (otherwise known as sytrofoam).

Join Us

Now is the time for citizens to create change in their own communities. Join us in our fight to rid our communities, waterways, and oceans of these useless pieces of pollution!

See below for more on AB 1998, which was introduced to the California Assembly by Assemblywoman Brownley and went on to foster more attention and support than any other bill this year. Read more on AB 1998...