Water Board Urged to Protect San Francisco Bay, San Diego, North Coast, Channel Islands
San Francisco Bay and at least three other California coastlines suffer severe plastic pollution that violates the federal Clean Water Act, according to an appeal the Center for Biological Diversity has filed with the California State Water Resources Control Board.
A Center review of scientific studies found that the Bay and its surrounding coastline and the waters off San Diego, the North Coast and Channel Islands National Park should be declared impaired by the water board. That designation would require state officials to clean up plastic pollution sources.
“Californians are literally swimming in plastic,” said Blake Kopcho, who conducted the survey for the Center. “This pollution is disturbingly widespread, from microfibers in the San Diego surf to water bottles on Eureka’s Clam Beach. State water officials need to acknowledge the problem and clean up the plastic that’s fouling our coastline and infecting marine life.”
From San Diego to Crescent City, California’s coastline is inundated with thousands of pounds of plastic trash. While plastic water bottles, Styrofoam food packaging, and other products are the most visible problem, most of the pollution consists of tiny bits of plastic from synthetic clothing and beauty products. Those microplastics can absorb environmental toxins and get eaten by fish and other marine life and can eventually be consumed by humans.
The Center’s scientific review found the following:
State and regional water-quality guidelines protect marine wildlife and their habitat from pollution, and prohibit trash from interfering with the enjoyment of beaches. The water board will evaluate the Center’s appeal for water-quality violations and develop a list of impaired waters. It is required to send that list to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which ultimately determines what water bodies are listed as impaired.
About Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
SOURCE: Biological Diversity