Save our planet – say no to Nestle privatizing our water

This came to me recently and is important enough to share with you all.

Please take action and sign this petition.

Don’t let a private company take control of the world’s water.

Nestlé is locking up local sources of water around the world, pumping them dry to get rich at locals’ expense.

Across the globe, Nestlé is pushing to privatize and control public water resources.
Nestlé’s Chairman of the Board, Peter Brabeck, has explained his philosophy with “The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.”

Since that quote has gotten widespread attention, Brabeck has backtracked, but his company has not. Nestlé is bullying communities around the world into giving up control of their water. It’s time we took a stand for public water sources.

Tell Nestlé that we have a right to water. Stop locking up our resources!

At the World Water Forum in 2000, Nestlé successfully lobbied to stop water from being declared a universal right — declaring open hunting season on our local water resources by the multinational corporations looking to control them. For Nestlé, this means billions of dollars in profits. For us, it means paying up to 2,000 percent more for drinking water because it comes from a plastic bottle.

Now, in countries around the world, Nestlé is promoting bottled water as a status symbol. As it pumps out fresh water at high volume, water tables lower and local wells become degraded. Safe water becomes a privilege only affordable for the wealthy.

In our story, clean water is a resource that should be available to all. It should be something we look after for the public good, to keep safe for generations, not something we pump out by billions of gallons to fuel short-term private profits. Nestlé thinks our opinion is “extreme”, but we have to make a stand for public resources. Please join us today in telling Nestlé that it’s not “extreme” to treat water like a public right.

Tell Nestlé to start treating water like a public right, not a source for private profits!
Thanks for all you do!

Emma Cape, Campaigns Manager, on behalf of The Story of Stuff team

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Sources and further reading:
Nestlé: The Global Search for Liquid Gold, Urban Times, June 11th, 2013
Bottled Water Costs 2000 Times As Much As Tap Water, Business Insider, July 12th, 2013

Save our Tomales Bay – Part 28 Stakeholders meeting

Click the above text “Save our Tomales Bay – Part 28 Stakeholders meeting” to see this entire post

The following was sent to me on 20 July by the Department of Fish & Wildlife. Presented to you as received (with minor edits for clarity).

I hope you can join us for an informative and productive gathering.

Join agencies, shellfish growers, and resident stakeholders in identifying concerns unique to Tomales Bay shellfish cultivation and discuss solutions, including proposed best management practices and clean-up efforts.

CA Dept Fish & Wildlife and the State Aquaculture Coordinator invite interested stakeholders for a discussion on:

Tomales Bay – Keeping It Free of Debris – Stakeholders Meeting

SAVE THE DATE:

Thur, Aug 6th, 2015 (1pm)

Marconi Conference Center – Pine Lodge

18500 Shoreline Hwy (SR 1)

Marshall, CA

See attached map for directions and parking

please confirm your interest to: aquaculturematters@wildlife.ca.gov

Download (PDF, 339KB)

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Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Save our Tomales Bay – Part 27 Good news continues

Click the above words “Save our Tomales Bay – Part 26 Good news and great news” to see this entire post.

As I slipped on my mud boots yesterday in preparation for my seventy-seventh week of walking the shore near the TBOC retail site to pick up their trash, an odd sound filled the air.

Power tools, like none I’d heard before at the farm. Hmmmm?

Found zip-tie number one as soon as I set foot on the beach. No zero-day day today Tod. Soon, the second and third were in the bag. Along with some “tourist trash”, or likely oyster customer trash given the location. Still that sound…..

Then I turned the corner to see Tod and nine of his guys fanned out in the mud, picking up trash. Was I hallucinating?

No, there they were.

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Tomales Bay Oyster Company owner and staff picking up their trash. What a great idea!

Tomales Bay Oyster Company owner and staff picking up their trash. What a great idea!

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The truck was on the beach too, but no oysters in it.

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Truck full of Tomales Bay Oyster Company trash no longer creating an eyesore in the bay, nor a risk to wildlife.

Truck full of Tomales Bay Oyster Company trash no longer creating an eyesore in the bay, nor a risk to wildlife.

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Next to the truck was the source of the noise. Tod had hired 1-800-got-junk to cut up the large mountain of rusting oyster racks that had been in the bay for 25 years, and on this beach for a few months at least.

This is a great sight to see. I thanked Tod and his workers and even tried to help them, but was shooed away by Tod.

Let’s hope that this trend continues. That is, any mess made by the oyster companies gets picked up by the oyster companies. Tod and his workers told me there are at least as many old, rusting racks spoiling the bay still to be removed.
Not to mention the thousands of PVC tubes and other plastic trash left over from Drew Alden, the previous leaseholder that left this in the bay for somebody else to deal with.

Preferably, we’ll see oyster companies that make very little mess.

Redesigning their gear to reduce loss, regular patrols of the beaches and bay to pickup their lost gear in a timely fashion and workers that do not take shortcuts or purposely drop garbage in the bay will all contribute to a healthier ecosystem.

Panorama of the area blighted by Tomales Bay Oyster Company, in the process of being de-blighted.

Panorama of the area blighted by Tomales Bay Oyster Company, in the process of being de-blighted.

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1-800-got-junk guys removing oyster farming junk from Tomales Bay.

1-800-got-junk guys removing oyster farming junk from Tomales Bay.

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Gordon Bennett did a very good job of addressing the deficiencies in the leases signed by the growers and the California Fish & Game Commission.

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Click the “pop-out” icon in the upperight corner of the image below to view this important document

Download (PDF, 349KB)

Please take a moment to read this brief document, then write Sonke Mastrup, the Executive Director of the Fish & Game Commission, as well as Randy Lovell, the State Aquaculture Coordinator at the CA Dept Fish & Wildlife and tell them you want stronger language in the leases they provide to growers using your waters to make a profit.

Sonke can be reached at: fgc@fgc.ca.gov – 916-653-4899

Randy can be reached at: randy.lovell@wildlife.ca.gov – 916-445-2008

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Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Save our Tomales Bay – Part 26 Good news and great news

Click the above words “Save our Tomales Bay – Part 26 Good news and great news” to see this entire post.

Boated out to Tom’s Point on Saturday to pull ice plant and pick up trash.

The good news is I only found four grow out bags, three from Hog Island and one purse-type bag from another grower, a type I have never found loose before. Had that purse been uniquely labeled, I, and anyone else out picking up trash would know exactly whose gear it was and we could contact the owner about it. This is good news because usually I find dozens, or even hundreds of abandoned grow out bags in this area.

One reason I found so few is because the tide was high, so I was not able to pull what are usually, but not always legacy trash from many years ago.
Rather, I only scanned the shore. Still, finding only three bags is a great sign. Because fewer bags getting lost means fewer bags to become buried in the mud or plant-life, never to be seen again.

A likely reason I found only three bags can be found in the next paragraph.

The great news is I found four Hog Island workers out walking the beaches with bags in hand, picking up trash!

I was pleasantly amazed.

Spoke with two of them, shared info on where I find particular items and thanked them again and again.

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Hog Island Oyster worker on trash patrol, Tom's Point - Tomales Bay

Hog Island Oyster worker on trash patrol, Tom’s Point – Tomales Bay

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When I explained the large wooden rack mess left in place by the brother of Charlie Johnson (who long ago raised oysters in this area) to one of them, he said that Hog might be interested in removing the hundreds of vertical pilings from the bay. I told him that the NPS was in the process of hiring a firm to remove over 5 lineal miles of racks from Drakes Estero and that the techniques learned would likely be transferable.

These Hog guys told me they had been coming out every two weeks for a while now, which is fantastic.

Come winter time, with harsher weather, this schedule will really pay off in keeping lost gear from being entombed in the wetlands and bay bottom, or pulled out into the Pacific Ocean.

A great day indeed.

Prediction: more jobs at oyster farms as the importance of regularly patrolling the shores of the bay, as well as the lease and non-lease areas of the bay become evident.

So stoked was I, that the next nearly 3 hours was spent pulling out one of several large plots of invasive ice plant, creating a pile almost six feet high for the Audubon people that own the land.

As always, click an image to see a larger version.

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Large pile of ice plant pulled out by one coastodian

Large pile of ice plant pulled out by one coastodian

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Large pile of ice plant pulled out by one coastodian

Large pile of ice plant pulled out by one coastodian

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View of Tomales Bay from Tom's Point

View of Tomales Bay from Tom’s Point

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Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Save our Tomales Bay – Part 25 Why?

Click the words above “Save our Tomales Bay – Part 25 Why?” to see this entire post.

Over the years I’ve packed thousands of pounds of trash off the beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay, one question asked of me often is:

Where does this stuff come from?

Initially, when I found a plastic water bottle labeled “Made in China”, I thought that it had floated from China to make landfall on Pierce Point for me to find and remove.

Then something happened that changed my mind.

During 2010, the craziest year for trash I have ever seen, I cleaned the 2+ mile portion of Point Reyes Beach between North Beach parking lot and South Beach parking lot.

I cleaned it not once, not twice, but three days in a row.

Each day it looked as bad, if not worse than the day before.

On the third day, I found two identical, pristine water bottles from China. By pristine, I mean they looked as if someone had just come from Palace Market, drank the water, then dropped them on the beach.

Brand new.

Not covered with goose-neck barnacles or bryozoan as would a bottle that had spent months or years bobbing around the Pacific Ocean.

Gooseneck barnacle encrusted plastic water bottle - South Beach, 7 June, 2010

Gooseneck barnacle encrusted plastic water bottle – South Beach, 7 June, 2010

These new bottles I’d found hadn’t drifted over from China on their own.

They had likely been tossed overboard by a crew-member of one of the thousands of container ships that bring countless millions of tons of cheap diversions to the world each year.

After contacting the Port of Oakland, I learned the following about container ships visiting Oakland:

       Only 19 hours or less to unload and load all the containers from one enormous ship.
       See here for a time lapse video of the loading of 18,000 containers.

       Less than 20 crew, most from the Philippines.

For a few months I tried to get my “Thirsty” image of 5 large meta-bottles hung in the room where this crew stays during unloading/loading. The woman with whom I spoke at the Port of Oakland really wanted to do this, but her superiors got in the way and in the end I failed in my attempt to educate the crews of these ships to not toss their trash into the sea.

BUT

I learned something that day.

I never really now where the litter I find comes from, I only know where it ends up.

Which is mostly true.

Mostly, because I know where the 6000+ black plastic spacer tubes I have picked up came from (Drakes Estero – oyster farming operations)

I know where the oyster grow-out bags come from.

Abandoned grow-out bags from Tomales Bay Oyster Company returned to them.

Abandoned grow-out bags from Tomales Bay Oyster Company returned to them.

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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I know where the thousands upon thousands of plastic zip-ties and lengths of plastic coated copper wire and plastic floats pecked by hungry birds that are discarded into Tomales Bay come from.

TBOC oyster bag float, pecked by birds looking for food. Zip-ties, blue foam bits of all sizes and the black plastic cover can be found by the thousands all around Tomales Bay.

TBOC oyster bag float, pecked by birds looking for food.
Zip-ties, blue foam bits of all sizes and the black plastic cover can be found by the thousands all around Tomales Bay.

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Small fraction of the zip-ties (en español: los cinchos) collected from leases of TBOC

Small fraction of the zip-ties (en español: los cinchos) collected from leases of TBOC

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Small fraction of the plastic coated copper wire (en español: cables) collected from leases of TBOC

Small fraction of the plastic coated copper wire (en español: cables) collected from leases of TBOC

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Tiny fraction of the discarded PVC pipes and pipe shards left by TBOC in Tomales Bay

Tiny fraction of the discarded PVC pipes and pipe shards left by TBOC in Tomales Bay

They come from the growers of oysters, clams and mussels in Tomales Bay.

I may not be able to stop the people around the world from polluting our planet.

But I will do all I can in my local area to stop the rampant disregard for the Tomales Bay by local oyster, clam and mussel growers.

And until these growers stop polluting the earth with their trash,

until the Fish & Game Commission takes its responsibility as the “landlord” of these public waters seriously,

I’ll continue to boat the bay and walk the shore, picking up their mess and reporting on it, just as I found it.

If, when I go boating on the bay, all I see are godwits, dowitchers and willets, that is what I’ll share with photos and words.

The true "owners" of Tomales Bay.

The true “owners” of Tomales Bay.

So growers, if you don’t wish to read about your mess, stop making one.


Three leases are coming up for renewal soon. Leases that, as written are pretty loose in terms of holding these companies responsible for the mess they make on a daily basis.

It will end up costing US tax payers more than a few million dollars to clean up the mess left by Johnsons / Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Drakes Estero.

The escrow fund language used in the current leases is over 25 years old. We need a contract worthy of the land it is designed to protect!

If you’d like to see the leases re-written so that growers pay fines if they leave a mess,

If you’d like to see the Fish & Wildlife Department more actively monitor the activities of growers that have made a mess of Tomales Bay for over a hundred years

If you’d like to take an active role in protecting the environment of West Marin

Write Sonke Mastrup, the Executive Director of the California Fish & Game Commission and tell him so.

You can reach him here:

Mr. Sonke Mastrup
Executive Director, Fish and Game Commission
fgc@fgc.ca.gov
phone 916-653-4899

California Fish and Game Commission P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Please also ask him when he plans to hold the public meeting in West Marin so that the public can weigh in on how the public lands are being treated (mistreated).

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Next related post may be found here>.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Save our Tomales Bay – Part 24 Whence cometh the detritus

Click on the words above “Save our Tomales Bay – Part 24 Whence cometh the detritus” to see this entire post.

Over the past few years of working with local oyster farmers to improve their processes in order to leave less trash in our local waters, I’ve heard them say more than once “When we go out on our yearly trash pickups, we always find more non-oyster trash than oyster farm trash.”

Let’s look at this statement in more detail.

Yearly litter pickups.

Look at the image below of a grow-out bag nearly obscured by pickleweed at the mouth of Walker Creek.

click on image, then click once more to see a much larger version.

This bag lay here for less than three weeks!

This bag lay here for less than three weeks!

Imagine if the growers came out a year later to look for this bag. Do you think they would have found it?

I had scoured this same area less than three weeks previously and that bag was not there.

No wonder the growers don’t find much oyster trash on their yearly cleanups, nature has enveloped their mess, making it invisible to their efforts.

Growers need to go out every two weeks in order to keep their mess from becoming a permanent part of the very same ecosystem they extract profit from. They need to walk the shores, as I do. At Hog Island Oysters and Tomales Bay Oyster Company, efforts to redesign gear to avoid these losses are underway, a good thing.

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Now let’s look at my cleanup efforts from two consecutive weeks along the shore from Preston Point to the fence at the Audubon Canyon parcel at Tom’s Point, as well as a small section of the Point Reyes Oyster Company lease at Walker Creek.

NOTE: click on an image, then click once more to see a much larger version.

May 3rd

Alleged non-oyster litter collected on 3 May, 2015 along coast from Preston Point to Audubon Canyon Ranch parcel.

Alleged non-oyster litter collected on 3 May, 2015 along coast from Preston Point to Audubon Canyon Ranch parcel.

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Alleged oyster litter collected on 3 May, 2015 along coast from Preston Point to Audubon Canyon Ranch parcel.  Large zip ties found on beach adjacent to Hog Island lease at Tom's Point. 53 abandoned oyster grow-out bags were also located, 26 of which hauled out.

Alleged oyster litter collected on 3 May, 2015 along coast from Preston Point to Audubon Canyon Ranch parcel. Large zip ties found on beach adjacent to Hog Island lease at Tom’s Point. 53 abandoned oyster grow-out bags were also located, 26 of which hauled out.


To the above items, add 53 grow-out bags, a very large volume of high-density polyethylene being ground into tiny bits by sand, wave and wind.

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May 10th

Alleged non-oyster litter collected on 10 May, 2015 along coast from Preston Point to Audubon Canyon Ranch parcel.

Alleged non-oyster litter collected on 10 May, 2015 along coast from Preston Point to Audubon Canyon Ranch parcel.

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Alleged oyster litter collected on 10 May, 2015 along coast from Preston Point to Audubon Canyon Ranch parcel.  Plastic coated copper wire found under Point Reyes Oyster Company racks, large zip ties found on beach adjacent to Hog Island lease at Tom's Point. 154 abandoned oyster grow-out bags were also located, 41 of which hauled out.

Alleged oyster litter collected on 10 May, 2015 along coast from Preston Point to Audubon Canyon Ranch parcel. Plastic coated copper wire found under Point Reyes Oyster Company racks, large zip ties found on beach adjacent to Hog Island lease at Tom’s Point. 154 abandoned oyster grow-out bags were also located, 41 of which hauled out.


To the above items, add 154 grow-out bags, a very large volume of high-density polyethylene being ground into tiny bits by sand, wave and wind.

The ratio of “tourist” trash to oyster trash varies over the year, depending on weather and visitation.

If you don’t look for it, you won’t find it! Oyster growers need to get out of their boats more often, they will find what I find if they are willing to walk the shore and mudflats and look.
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A list of proposed best practices I drew up was submitted to the Fish & Game Commission in April at their meeting in Santa Rosa. Both Hog Island Oysters and Tomales Bay Oyster Company are in the process of redesigning their gear, both of which I applaud. With better gear to withstand the beating doled out by sun, wind and waves, less of this gear will go missing, which means a healthier ecosystem for all.

Let’s hope this trend continues, for earth’s sake.

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Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Save our Tomales Bay – Request for boaters to remove ice plant from Tom’s Point

Hello all,

In my travels around Tomales Bay monitoring and removing the trash (most of it new and legacy oyster farming trash), I have come across several large plots of invasive ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) that need to be removed.

Plan to put your boat in at Nick’s Cove (AKA Miller Boat Launch) and paddle north a little over 2 miles to the southern shore of Tom’s Point.

Folks from Audubon Canyon Ranch will meet us there with bags and gloves and lunch!

We’ll spend a few hours pulling out as much of this plant as we can, break for lunch, then work a little longer to wait for the flood tide to help us back to Nick’s.

Date TBD, it will be on a weekend. Likely late June or July after the 4th.

IMG_5338.crop.cc.cw

Bring

$5 to pay for your parking permit
Clothing to wear while onshore, pulling plants
– long sleeve shirt, long pants, hat
light hiking shoes
sunscreen
water
snacks

Please write to express interest [richard@coastodian.org].

Once a firm date has been selected, I’ll contact all interested parties with details.

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IMG_5162.crop.cc

Birds of Tomales Bay – Bald eagles build affordable housing in West Marin

Click on the words above “Birds of Tomales Bay – Bald eagles…” to see this entire post.

It is not known whether the California Coastal Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, United States Geological Survey, Fish & Game Commission, County building permit office or any other acronym was consulted prior to this coastal construction.

Though, I don’t think these eagles give a hoot.

Enjoy.

As always, click on an image for a larger version, then click again for even larger.

Female on nest

Female on nest

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Male returning with plush nest floor covering

Male returning with plush nest floor covering

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Female on patrol

Female on patrol

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Female on patrol

Female on patrol

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Female on patrol

Female on patrol

See this pair of eagles copulating here.

Save our Tomales Bay – Part 23 Bullshitter caught in the act!

Click on the words above “Save our Tomales Bay – Part 23 Bullshitter caught in the act!” to see this entire post.

On 16 May as I walked the shore near Tom’s Point and the oyster leases operated by Hog Island Oysters picking up zip-ties, grow out bags, discarded lumber and the occasional piece of non-oyster related trash, I was startled as this large bull burst forth on the hillside above me.

He snorted and stared at me, making sure I knew whose beach this was.

Then he sauntered off into the water, defecated, continuing on around this very long fence jutting out into Tomales Bay.

When the scent of lady cows in estrus is in the air, no string of wire will keep this bull from his appointed rounds.

Maybe that brownish/yellowish stuff is what give the local oysters shittoir.

Off in the distance in this video are strings of hundreds of bags of oysters filter-feedng in the nutrient-rich waters of Tomales Bay.

It is not just the guys pooping in our local waters.

Have a look at these ladies that regularly relieve themselves in and around Drakes Estero (image from a few years ago)

RJames.IMG_4541.CC.cwRJames.IMG_4560.crop.cc.cwIs this the secret ingredient of the non-native oysters that were once raised in Drakes Estero?

 

Speaking of bullshit, stay tuned for more images of the steady supply of plastic left in Tomales Bay by oyster farmers of present and past.

Local growers are making efforts to reduce the debris abandoned to the watershed. I applaud and encourage these and more efforts.

Enough of an effort?

Perhaps when the Fish & Game Commission hosts the public meeting in West Marin they promised me is coming, we’ll all find out.

Until then, let the chips fall where they may.

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Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Save our planet – Support AB 888, which bans plastic microbeads

According to Save the Bay, 417 million plastic micro-beads enter San Francisco Bay every year. This flow of non-biodegradable plastic is unnecessary and threatens the integrity not only of our marine ecosystems but also of our own personal health, as these beads can find their way into the food web, eventually reaching fish that we consume.

Ask your legislator to VOTE YES ON AB 888 to ban plastic microbeads by clicking here.

Read what the folks at 5 Gyres have to say about the dangers of plastic microbeads here.

Steve Mosko has written an excellent article on the problems with micro-beads, read it here.