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An online petition to ban the use of plastic shopping bags in Oceanside had acquired 586 signatures by June 15. Several weeks ago, Belinda Martinez-Canez, who wrote the petition in late April, was surprised to learn that it had received any signatures.
“I [was] really excited to see this,” Martinez-Canez said. “I didn’t know I made it ‘live.’” She said she wrote the petition on Change.org but had intended to add a photo of the Oceanside Pier before posting it.
Martinez-Canez also said she was going to wait for the outcome of the vote on Assembly Bill 521, which would have introduced a statewide ban on the use of plastic bags; however, the bill was stopped from moving forward in the legislature on May 24.
Authors of that bill, senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) and assembly member Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), proposed to end plastic pollution with an "extended producer responsibility" bill that would require manufacturers to figure out how to keep the most common plastic junk out of state waterways, according to the Associated Press.
Though the bill failed to pass, Martinez-Canez is now monitoring her petition and has set a goal of reaching 5000 signatures. Once that number is reached, she said she will attend an Oceanside City Council meeting with the petition and request the matter be added to the agenda.
Martinez-Canez has operated an outdoor café kiosk south of the pier for eight years. She said she got the idea to organize a petition against plastic bags during Oceanside’s Green Week 2013, when the city hosted environmentally related events and activities.
“My pivotal moment was when they showed the movie Trashed,” she said. The Jeremy Irons documentary about global waste was presented at the Oceanside Museum of Art during Green Week.
“I’m shocked all coastal cities have not banned plastic bags yet,” Martinez-Canez said. Solana Beach adopted a ban on plastic bags a year ago.
Click here to view the petition.