On May 24, the California State Assembly tabled bill designed to protect oceans and marine wildlife from plastic waste.

Called AB 521, the legislation was introduced by State Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) and had successfully passed the Assembly Natural Resource Committee. If it had passed, the law would have required plastic manufacturers to develop plans to decrease the amount of plastic waste that finds its way to oceans by 95 percent. Those that did not comply with the law would be fined with a maximum penalty of up to $10,000 per day.

Those who opposed the bill felt that it unfairly focused on just one industry when many other forms of waste also contribute to pollution. Supporters argued that plastic waste was a good starting point for reform, as discarded plastics can remain in marine ecosystems for decades. 

Stone has vowed to rework some parts of the bill and to reintroduce it in the future. In the meantime, you can help decrease plastic waste yourself no matter where you live. When you head to the beach for a picnic, be sure to take along biodegradable flatware and plates instead of plastic and paper. By using Eco Products or Bambu products, you can ensure that plastic doesn't find its way into the ocean, even inadvertently. Also, consider bringing along your cold drinks in a stainless steel sports bottle like the ones from ThinkSport.

What else can we do to protect the oceans from plastic waste? Share your ideas in the "Comments" section.

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