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Rise Above Plastics (RAP) Mid-Year Report

2024 has been quite busy for the Rise Above Plastics (RAP) team, but before we delve into our updates, we would like to express our gratitude to you, and everyone, who supports our efforts by becoming members of the Chapter, participating in our events, sending emails to city council members when called upon, and so much more. Your actions make a difference. Thank you!


A significant policy milestone was marked when San Diego’s polystyrene foam (StyrofoamTM) ban ordinance went into effect for all businesses in April. Additionally, Oceanside's polystyrene foam restrictions are set to take effect on July 1st, representing another important step forward. Both cities have been actively sharing information with community members and business owners to raise awareness and ensure compliance with these important single-use plastic regulations.

Meanwhile, Rise Above Plastics (RAP) volunteers continue to advocate for policies in Chula Vista, Coronado, and La Mesa and are hopeful that each will enact common sense single-use plastic reduction ordinances by the end of the year. 

On February 13th, we advocated for a single-use plastic reduction ordinance in La Mesa by speaking in favor during the City Council meeting. The Council voted unanimously to create an ad hoc committee that will develop a draft ordinance and conduct community outreach. To support the need for outreach, the Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR) team visited 30 La Mesa restaurants during a social and blitz held in March and received positive feedback about both the OFR program and the potential ordinance. Additionally, Vicki Conlon (OFR lead) tabled at La Mesa’s Earth Day Fair, gathering signatures and postcards from residents who support single-use plastic reductions in the city. 

(From left to right: Erika Rodriguez, Brenna Churma, Josh Ceazan, Jasmine Miskeal, Vicki Conlon, Janis Jones, and Sharon Bodon.

On March 20th, RAP’s Mark O’Connor gave a presentation about the dangers of lighter-than-air balloons for the Imperial Beach City Council in hopes that they will consider adding a balloon ban to the plastic reduction ordinances already in place in the South County beach town.

The RAP team joined Emerald Keepers at the April 16th Coronado City Council meeting to advocate for the importance of an ordinance. The Council unanimously instructed staff to prepare a report outlining the existing ordinances in cities throughout San Diego County. This report will serve as a resource as Coronado identifies single-use plastic reduction priorities specific to the community.

Amy Steward (right) and volunteers stand behind bins filled with plastic debris collected during one beach cleanup in Coronado.

As efforts continue in Chula Vista, we turned our attention to the health-related concerns caused by exposure to plastics and plastic-related chemicals. In collaboration with South Bay Sustainable Communities, RAP hosted a film screening of We’re All Plastic People Now at Chula Vista’s Civic Center Library on May 2nd.

The eye-opening film highlights little-known plastic impacts that range from fertility issues to endocrine disruption and cancer, and begs the question, “ much evidence do we need before we decide to take action?”

View We're All Plastic People Now trailer

We're All Plastic People Now

The evening featured a panel discussion moderated by high school junior, Abby Costello, who is the youth representative on Chula Vista’s Environmental Commission. Esteemed panelists included Miho Ligare (Surfrider Foundation Plastic Pollution Policy Manager), Mitzi Mayer (Mitzi Mayer Productions), Manuel Medrano (Chula Vista’s Environmental Services Manager), and Mitch Silverstein (Surfrider San Diego’s Policy Manager).

Panelists from left to right: Abby Costello, Mitzi Mayer, Mitch Silverstein, Miho Ligare, Manuel Medrano
Janis Jones and Vicki Conlon share information about the impacts of plastic pollution and microplastics.
Joana Guerra and Miho Ligare welcome guests at the check-in table.
panelists copy
Introducing the panel discussion moderators and experts.

Mitch and Miho reminded the audience about the importance of advocating for local, state, and federal policy. A few actions everyone can take today are linked below:

For local updates and action alerts regarding initiatives to reduce single-use plastic pollution in San Diego County, please add your name to our email list by signing up HERE. (Scroll down and complete the form under “Sign up for Rise Above Plastics Updates“).


While we continue to advocate for policy, we must also consider things we can do as individuals to reduce our personal reliance on unnecessary plastics. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate plastics entirely, but we can lessen our exposure to microplastics and related-chemicals by following some of the suggestions below.

Keep in mind that attempting to remove all plastics from daily life can feel overwhelming. To avoid frustration, try reducing the use of one item at a time, and remember, the Surfrider Foundation advocates for legislation at every level of government because avoiding single-use plastics and plastic packaging should not be so incredibly difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. 

For additional information about plastic-related health and environmental concerns, view our webinar with Matt Simon, author of A Poison Like No Other: How Microplastics Corrupted Our Planet and Our Bodies.


To support Surfrider San Diego programming, become a member, attend a RAP meeting or event, and/or volunteer at a beach cleanup. Your involvement will make a difference as we continue to advocate for change.