Arcatans are estimated to use about four million single-use plastic bags annually. After last night, that number should drop dramatically.
In a 5-0 decision, the city council decided to adopt a bag ordinance that prohibits those plastic carryout bags found at grocery stores and restaurants.
"We're really happy that Humboldt Waste Management did our EIR (enviromental impact report) and made it available for everyone in the county to use," said Alex Stillman, Arcata City Councilmember. "And we're looking forward to adopting it, and also the county considering adopting it so that we can, as a coastal city and coastal county, eliminate plastic bags from our environment."
Arcata's bag ban goes into effect in February 2014, Stillman said. Starting in August, the city will mandate a ten-cent charge on paper bags.
Plastic bags don't biodegrade. Instead, they get shredded into smaller and smaller pieces until they work their way into the food chain. "There are places in the ocean where you find more particles of plastic than plankton," said Humboldt Baykeeper's Jessica Hall. "This is the single most popular issue when we post this on our Facebook page," she said. "This is the thing people have really, really responded too."
Though Stillman said she'd been eyeing a bag ordinance for Arcata since her reelection in 2006, Hall notes that this is the first plastic bag ban in Humboldt county. In addition to the city staff, Hall added that "Humboldt Waste Management Authority also gets a big high five for putting this on the table in the first place and I'd also like to thank our partners in the environmental community and the community members themselves."
Now's as good a time as ever to enjoy Australian comedian Tim Minchin's epic anthem.
Mike Dronkers / Tuesday, Aug. 27 @ 12:05 p.m. / Environment
The bay is closed for food harvest due to a sewage spill in Arcata. City of Arcata's Eric Lust filled in the details for KHUM listeners. He says over 1,000 gallons are estimated to have entered Arcata Bay last week, and officials are awaiting lab results before giving the go-ahead to local oyster farmers.
In addition to having spill sensors, Arcata relies on citizen tips.
The City of Arcata has implemented a Sewer Overflow Reporting Program. By promptly reporting an overflow, the City is able to minimize the impact to the environment. To report a sewer back-up or overflow, please call the Environmental Services Department at 707-822-8184. After hours, call the after-hours emergency number at 822-2424.
Mike Dronkers / Thursday, April 25 @ 10:55 a.m. / Environment
- Mad River (Blue Lake) - 9am-1pm - Mad River Alliance - meet at Stardoughs
- Klamath River - 9am - Yurok Tribe - Meet at Yurok Main Office
- North Jetty (Eureka) - 10am-1pm - Humboldt Surfrider - meet at North Jetty Parking Lot
- Sequoia Park (Eureka) - Noon-2pm - Sequoia Park Zoo - pull ivy out of the park
- Manila Beach - 9:30am-12:30pm - Friends of the Dunes - meet at Manila Community Center
- Ma-le'l Dunes - 9am- Friends of the Dunes - Trail steward workday - meet at Young Lane lot
- Palco Marsh (Eureka) - Noon-2pm - Humboldt Baykeeper - meet at the end of Del Norte Street
- Samoa Beach - 1-3pm - Northcoast Environmental Center - meet at parking lot
- Are there others?
Don't miss the afterparty at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. The Earth Day Hoedown is from 3-7pm. Music, food, drink and great company as volunteers and community members come together at the end of a day of beach clean-up and restoration activities. Free for those who volunteer that day and $5 for the general public.
[Photo: Northcoast Environmental Center]