by Mitch Silverstein

One of our 2019-2020 policy goals is to replicate our successful San Diego “Fight the Foam” campaign in other cities countywide. Our efforts in San Diego resulted in a single-use plastic (SUP) reduction ordinance banning foam foodware, coolers and beach toys citywide, while also requiring restaurants to only provide plastic straws and utensils upon request.

Thanks to our activist network, Surfrider volunteers are currently pursuing similar SUP reduction policies in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Coronado, and Chula Vista. We’ve recently stepped up engagement in Oceanside, supporting Janis Jones, a local teacher and activist leading the charge on a citywide foam ban. The city’s environmental program, Green Oceanside, recently printed a plastic pollution survey to gauge the public’s support of policy to prevent plastic pollution. We’ve offered to ask people to fill them out at our outreach events in Oceanside.

So far, Surfrider volunteers have collected 543 surveys at our Oceanside Pier beach cleanups and during the Supergirl Pro surf contest in late July. The results speak for themselves!

Results from 543 Surveys

Are plastic pollution and single-use disposable items a frequent issue in the City of Oceanside?
% of participants who answered YES 95%
Does single-use plastic contribute to blight and litter?
% of participants who answered YES 97%
Do you think single-use plastic should be reduced?
% of participants who answered YES 97%
How should the city reduce single-use plastic?
YES to "an ordinance that bans single-use plastic" 60%

The survey reveals that beachgoers are both aware & concerned about plastic pollution in the ocean. At least in coastal communities, this critical issue has been embraced into the mainstream.  This is largely thanks to 10+ years of education, outreach and advocacy by Surfrider Foundation & other environmental organizations who’ve led the charge. 

Meanwhile, a solid 60% of respondents favor a ban on single-use plastics. Most polls would consider a 60% majority a slam dunk. However, the lower number illustrates how much work remains to cut through the mainstream, industry-sponsored notion that “education,” “proper disposal” and “recycling” are sufficient to address the global plastic pollution crisis. 

What we need is ACTION, and it starts in our own backyard. Surfrider Foundation San Diego County is 100% committed to achieving real policy victories that reduce single-use plastics at the source, before they reach our ocean, waves and beaches. 

We invite you to engage on this issue with us. For more information, please email RAP@surfridersd.org, or better yet, attend our next Rise Above Plastics monthly meeting (third Tuesdays at 7pm, see event calendar for details). 

To learn more about plastic pollution and Surfrider’s Plastic Pollution Initiative, visit our Rise Above Plastics page!