Letters: CALPIRG’s role enacting plastic bag bans in Alameda

I was thrilled to see the Daily Cal’s recent article on Berkeley City Council’s ordinance to pass the strongest possible ban on single-use plastic bags to protect the ocean (“Berkeley moving forward with tougher plastic bag ban,” Feb. 1).

The City Council voted on Tuesday to move forward with a ban that will go even beyond the recent Alameda County ban on plastic bags and will include all retail nonrestaurant businesses.

Growing up near the beach, this issue is close to my heart. Ocean pollution is a huge problem, and plastic bags are the main culprit.

Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute the ocean for hundreds of years, harm our marine life or leach toxins into our food supply.

As a member of CALPIRG, the public interest activist group, I worked on this issue a lot last year. CALPIRG volunteers worked to get 4,000 petitions signed on campus in support of a Berkeley plastic bag ban.

We also lobbied the City Council and made public comments at meetings and worked closely with City Councilmember Kriss Worthington to pass a ban in Berkeley and in Alameda County.

Now we are taking the campaign statewide and working to ban plastic bags in all of California!

CALPIRG was instrumental in organizing at the grassroots level to pass this ban, and it feels great to see our hard work pay off. Especially when the payoff is that our greatest natural treasure, the ocean, will be safe for future generations!

 — Kat Lockwood,
UC Berkeley undergraduate

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As a member of CALPIRG, I was excited to read the report “Berkeley moving forward with tougher plastic bag ban.”

CALPIRG has been consistently active behind the successful passings of both Alameda County and Berkeley city plastic bag bans.

A giant inflatable turtle, a on-campus press conference and  a collection of 4,000 petitions from Berkeley community members as parts of the CALPIRG Ocean Campaign’s objectives contributed to what we witnessed in the last two weeks.

We didn’t stop.

With the help of new interns, CALPIRG is moving forward to advocate for the statewide ban in the foreseeable future.

— Shi Shen,
UC Berkeley freshman