Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.
Plastic straws, bags, and toothbrushes are littering Australia’s Cocos Islands where 414 million pieces of debris were beached, according to research published in the journal Nature. While that pile-up feels oceans away, realities about the consequences of plastic reliance hit close to home. California legislators are weighing a pair of bills, Senate Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080, aiming to significantly cut waste from single-use plastic packaging and products sold or distributed in California. The bills, which passed the Senate and Assembly appropriations committees last week, are explained by Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group the Monitor recently spoke with about local recycling policy solutions as waste generation and landfill disposal are rising. Sausalito is among cities taking action. The City Council approved a new ban on single-use plastics this week.
Scooters and other so-called personal transportation devices (PTD) continue to gain popularity. But they lack consistent rules to balance safety and usage, according to a Mineta Transportation Institute report. After studying state, city, and campus rules, the researchers found PTD users operate in a “murky regulatory environment, with rules often poorly defined, contradictory, or altogether absent.” For example, in some places, scooters are prohibited on sidewalks, while in others they are allowed or even required to be on sidewalks. Rule disparities raise concern about how to mix PTDs safely into communities, the study said. State regulations could create some standardization via Assembly Bill 1112, but not everyone is happy about the proposed legislation.
Herd About Cows on Trails?
Planning to hike on National Trails Day this Saturday? Before lacing up boots, it’s important to be informed about the Bay Area’s open space preserves where trail users may come across cows grazing. Open space reporter Aleta George shares her recent experience hiking alongside a herd of 30 cattle while exploring Wildcat Canyon Regional Park in the East Bay. In a preview of her forthcoming article in the June Monitor, she recounts how she read cow behavior, a skill picked up in a Solano Land Trust workshop, to co-exist on the trail that day and navigate safely through the herd.
Heavy winter rains have filled reservoirs, but climate change projections underscore the necessity of prepping for dry years. One change homeowners can consider is replacing lawns with a landscape that conserves water. Head to a three-hour workshop on Saturday, June 8 by the Contra Costa Water District for ideas. The workshop will cover topics like rebates, garden design, plant choices, and drip irrigation installation. Register here.
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