This week, we encourage everyone to take a step to protect the Bay by preventing pollution. Whether you’re dropping off your ballot and supporting Bay Smart policies, or picking up trash along the shoreline, post your action on Instagram, tag us @saveSFbay, and use #BayDayTrailChallenge #SFBayDay, by Thursday, October 29 at 11:59 p.m. for the chance to win a sustainable storage starter pack from our friends at Stasher or a fun swag box from the wonderful people at AllTrails.
Those lucky enough to call the Bay Area home have no shortage of access to natural splendor. From unparalleled views overlooking the Pacific to wetlands filled with unique plants and animals, it’s no wonder so many people love living here. As we celebrate Bay Day by connecting residents to the many trails and sights around the Bay, we also want to bring attention to an integral part of creating a healthy and resilient future: pollution prevention.
COVID-19 has radically changed our day to day lives. Massive surges in personal protective equipment have led to an increase in plastic pollution globally, the Bay being no exception. As restaurants move to take-out options, use of single-use utensils and bags is sharply increasing as well. While this new plastic-heavy reality is necessary to slow the spread of the disease, it simultaneously creates an urgent pollution problem we must address. What can you do?
Support Bay Smart Policies
Recent legislative efforts have attempted to curb plastic consumption and pollution in California. Assembly Bill 1080 and Senate Bill 54 were introduced by legislators last year to set a framework for plastic reduction in California. Under the bills, single-use plastic products must be 75% recycled by 2030, with all new single-use products being made recyclable or compostable. Unfortunately, these bills were not adopted. Recology, a waste hauler based in San Francisco, has secured an ambitious ballot initiative on the November 2022 ballot. The measure, if enacted, will require CalRecycle to adopt ambitious regulations on big single-use plastic producers and enact a tax on items of packaging or foodware.
Help Clean Up Your Neighborhood
Despite slow movement on plastic reduction policies at the state level, there are plenty of opportunities today to individually make a difference. Organizations like the Coastal Commission have made removing trash in your own community safe and accessible through Coastal Cleanup Month, which garnered over 12,000 participants in September. You can still access their Guidance for Neighborhood Cleanups to help you plan one of your own.
Reduce Your Plastic Use
You may recall earlier this year when reusable bags were temporarily prohibited in grocery stores as an extra precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19. Good news: our county health departments have confirmed that reusable bags are safe to use, so long as you wash in between uses. Look for sustainable solutions for all single use plastics in your life and see how many you can eliminate.
Neighborhood cleanups and bringing your own bag to the store are small steps we can take to keep plastics out of landfills and the Bay, even during this time of uncertainty.Pollution is a collective result of the actions of many, and naturally the responsibility falls upon everyone to ensure proper action is taken. Here in the Bay Area, our shorelines and waters rely on the actions of its residents to ensure we can enjoy the natural beauty for years to come. If each person is able to make consistent and effective changes in their lives, the impact would be undeniably large. So from now on, examine your own ability to safely prevent pollution on every scale, and help keep the Bay Area beautiful.