A Plea to Prevent a Plastic-tastophe at the Port

Trash in the harbor. Photo by Eva Cicoria of Paddle out Plastic

By Isabelle Jeng, Environmental Journalist

A giant entertainment complex will transform the San Pedro waterfront in the coming two years. Plans for the old Ports o’ Call site encompass 2.5 acres with restaurants, a brewery and a108,000-square foot outdoor amphitheater jutting into the L.A. Harbor. The 62,000-seat stadium will host about 100 concerts annually as well as local events. 

But large crowds on a windy strip of land projecting into the harbor could result in an unfortunate series of pollution superspreading events. Fortunately the public comment period required by the environmental impact report process allowed the Sierra Club to offer suggestions for adjusting the plan to mitigate the flow of plastics and other pollutants into the ocean and atmosphere. Our PV-SB Group letter pointed out environmental hazards that could be avoided:         


 *The proposed artificial turf would leach significant amounts of micro plastics into the surrounding waterways. 

*Balloons or confetti will blow away, and can entangle or be ingested by birds and mammals. Metallized balloons pose a fire risk if they hit power lines.

 *Concessions stands would use large amounts of single-use plastic for food and souvenirs that are not likely to be recycled or properly disposed of. 

 *Amplified sound, pyrotechnics, and lighting displays could impact wildlife. Fireworks also produce a cloud toxic of particles, which accumulate in the environment. 

  *Smoking or vaping would pose a public health threat. Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter on beaches, and plastic cartridges in e-cigarettes are hardly ever recycled or properly disposed of. 

To curtail these problems we suggested:

*Requiring that all food and other product packaging be reusable and free of plastics. 

*Installing water bottle refill stations.

*Prohibiting smoking, fireworks, balloons and confetti

In addition, we proposed:

*Requiring that buildings be all-electric.

*Placing microfiber filtration on all laundry machines.

Judy Herman

*Planting trees to provide shade and absorb CO2

*Pesticide-free landscape maintenance

Let’s hope our advice is heeded and we can enjoy this new attraction without feeling we’re adding to the pollution problem. (Who are “we”? The Executive Committee of our Group. Attend our meetings and consider joining the ExCom.)

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