February 27, 2013

San Jose Council Votes to Move Forward on Banning Styrofoam

SOS Program Team Marina and
Rachel (as Styrofoam Monster) at the hearing.

Last night, San Jose City Council members voted 9-2 to move forward with drafting an ordinance that will ban Styrofoam take-out containers at restaurants throughout the city.  SOS has been working with the city for two years to advance this effort and are happy to see it moving forward.  Over 60 other jurisdictions in the state have passed similar ordinances including all of Santa Cruz County and all but one jurisdiction in Monterey County.  

According to Councilmember Sam Liccardo, champion of this ban, “This will make San Jose the largest city in the country to ban Styrofoam and we will lead the way for other cities to do the same.”  A key piece of the city’s ban is that it includes completion of a regional environmental report that will allow for other Santa Clara cities to easily adopt ordinances by utilizing San Jose’s report. 

The environmental review and draft ordinance will be prepared in the next few months and a final ordinance is planned to be presented to the city council for a vote this summer.

Over 40 people came to give public comment in support of the Styrofoam ban during the three hours of discussion over this item.  This included students from University High School and residents from other cities where the ban has proven to be very effective.  A Salinas resident drove all the way to the meeting to say that when DART Container Corporation tried to convince his city council not to ban Styrofoam, he was proud that his city did the right thing and passed a ban in August, 2011.   A restaurant owner gave testimony that there are many alternatives to Styrofoam that are reasonably priced and are of better quality – even to contain hot soup!

Save Our Shores collected 216 pieces of Styrofoam in a two hour cleanup of Coyote Creek on February 9th , 2013 the “Coyote Creek Creeper” or "Styrofoam Monster" is made up of that many pieces of Styrofoam to represent what was found polluting just a quarter mile stretch of that waterway.  Save Our Shores is grateful to the Mayor and City Council for taking this step to eliminate this harmful plastic product from San Jose’s environment.

February 7, 2013

Tsunami Debris Littering Alaskan Coastline.

Photo by Annie Feidt for NPR

Alaska's beautiful coastline is being inundated with debris from the Japanese Tsunami.

"At the state's Montague Island beach, the nearly 80 miles of rugged wilderness looks pristine from a helicopter a few thousand feet up. But when you descend, globs of foam come into view."-NPR News.

Read more in this article from NPR news.

Oregon is also getting tsunami debris on their coast, a small boat just washed up a few days ago.  Read more in this article.

Here at Save Our Shores we are training our docents and volunteers to keep their eyes out for tsunami debris in Santa Cruz and Monterey.  So far, our volunteers have found a few bouys, a plastic bottle and a sunscreen bottle that look like they are from the tsunami but have not been confirmed by NOAA.

What to do if you find tsunami debris:

Be safe: Use common sense and follow general safety guidelines. If you do not know what an item is, do not touch it.

Record information and send to NOAA: Items that are potentially related to the tsunami can be reported to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov with as much information as possible (including its location, the date and time you found it, photos, and any relevant descriptions). It is important to remember that not all debris found on U.S. shorelines is from Japan, so please use your discretion when reporting items.