7/13/12


On July 10 the city of Santa Cruz, California became the 50th city to live plastic bag free.

“Almost one third of the state now live bag free,” said Dan Jacobson, legislative director for Environment California. “Now we need the California legislature to pass a statewide ban on single use plastic bags.”

 

Californians throw away 123,000 tons of plastic bags each year, and too many of them end up as litter in our ocean. Today, there are 100 million tons of trash in the North Pacific Gyre. In some parts of the Pacific, plastic outweighs plankton 6 to 1.

All of this trash in the Pacific is creating an ecological disaster:

  • Turtles and seabirds frequently ingest floating plastic, mistaking it for food. They also get entangled in bags and often drown or die of suffocation.
  • Adult seabirds inadvertently feed small bits of plastic to their chicks—often causing them to starve to death after their stomachs become filled with plastic.
  • Toxic pollutants leach from the plastic into the water. Scientists are now studying whether fish and other marine animals absorb these toxic pollutants. If so, there is a good chance that we also absorb them when we eat fish.

“What’s really scary is that scientists tell us this plastic may never biodegrade,” said Jacobson. “And every day we go without tackling this problem, it becomes a little bit worse.”


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