For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 1st, 2022
For More Information:
Marineille Cabacang, CALPIRG Students
CALPIRG Students at UCSD, alongside San Diego City Council members, organized a beach clean-up Wednesday morning in support of the fight against plastic pollution.
CALPIRG Students’ Beyond Plastics Campaign was established in response to the devastating amounts of plastic contaminating the world. During her speech, CALPIRG Students Board Member Rachel Tseng reveals, “in the next 18 minutes, over 600,000 pounds of plastic will enter our ocean.” Recycling has no real positive impact on this problem, and industries continue to produce tremendous amounts of plastic products for consumers to use and then carelessly dispose of. Plastic does not biodegrade. Instead, it breaks down into small microplastics which have already infiltrated our oceans, streets, waterways, and even our own bodies.
That is why CALPIRG Students is highlighting the importance of reducing plastic use.
This fall, the San Diego City Council voted on an ordinance to ban polystyrene foam. Students attended the City Council meeting and spoke about why they cared about reducing plastic pollution. The ordinance passed 7-1, but while the students were excited, they say we need to do more to protect the environment and our oceans. They’re now working to pass policy to eliminate other types of plastic waste, like plastic bags, and have gathered over 1600 petitions in support.
Inspired by the recognition of their voices in local legislation, CALPIRG students invited members of the city council to attend the beach clean-up and encourage the campus and the city of San Diego to continue being leaders in fighting plastic pollution and protecting the environment. Council Joe LaCava expresses his eagerness to collaborate with students on environmental advocacy saying, “The decisions that I am empowered to make as a city councilmember are decisions that are going to impact their future.”
At first glance, La Jolla Shores Beach appeared free of any trash. But upon closer inspection, students and city council members alike observed abundant amounts of tiny fragments of plastic.
While seemingly harmless, small pieces of plastic are the most dangerous forms of plastic waste. Yale Huang, CALPIRG Students Board Member, states, “They’re small enough to be digested by humans and animals, and we often don’t recognize their true danger until it’s eroding our bodies.”
Most common pieces of trash collected were cigarette butts, parts of plastic wrappers, and polystyrene. With La Jolla Shores Beach being the prime spot for beach bonfires, it is unsurprising how many pieces of styrofoam plates, cups and plastic utensils were collected.
CALPIRG Students is a statewide, student run, and student funded non-profit that advocates for the public interest, including issues environmental protection and ending hunger and homelessness.