Today, six Surfrider chapters including almost 40 activists from all over Florida joined environmental groups, students, outdoor recreation organizations and advocates in Tallahassee at Florida Coasts and Oceans Day, to promote the importance of the state’s clean beaches, healthy oceans and a reduction in single use plastic bags.
“Volunteers for the Surfrider Foundation are constantly finding plastics on beaches. From plastic bags to cigarette butts to drinking straws, our beaches being degraded and our oceans are turning into a plastic soup,” said Holly Parker, Florida Regional Manager of the Surfrider Foundation. “Local governments want the ability to regulate plastic bags and protect their environments, but the Florida Legislature has tied their hands. This year we hope that legislators will listen to their constituents and give local control back to the cities and counties that are asking for it.”
The Surfrider Foundation, joined Oceana, the Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition, and other ocean and recreation organizations for a day of exhibits and tabling in the Capitol Courtyard, while volunteers visited their legislators to advocate for HB661/S966, disposable plastic bags. Current state law prohibits local governments from regulating, banning, taxing or limiting single-use plastic bags. The bill allows communities with populations of fewer than 100,000 to establish pilot programs for the regulation or ban of single use plastic bags.
Representative Bill Richardson says “It’s past time for the State of Florida to allow local governments to regulate or ban single-use plastic bags. My pilot program is an effort to review the current policy and shift control back where it belongs—at the local government level.”
The infamous Bag Monster made an appearance at the event – a volunteer wearing a costume decorated with 500 plastic bags, the average amount an American uses in one year (check him out above).
Plastics comprise up to 90% of floating marine debris, and up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources. The Surfrider Foundation seeks to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics.
Media Contact: Holly Parker, 850-567-3393, firstname.lastname@example.org