Trash is killing ocean wildlife

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. And every day we go without tackling this problem, it becomes a little bit worse.

We can stop the waste

Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our oceans for hundreds of years. Californians know this, and are taking action to protect the Pacific.

We’ve made great progress winning local bans and educating the public on the harmful effects of plastic. Today, bags are banned (or soon will be) in more than 100 California communities — and now 1 in 3 Californians are living bag-free. It's a great start, but we’re not stopping until we rid the whole state of plastic bag pollution.

Let's ban the bags statewide!

With more cities banning bags each month, we have the momentum. With your help, we can win an historic victory for our ocean — a statewide ban on plastic bags.

Member support makes it possible for our staff to do research, make our case to the media, reach out to critical constituencies, and help government officials make the right choices for our ocean.

Oceans updates

News Release | Environment California Research & Policy Center

Sacramento Ocean Day draws citizens from across the state

On Tuesday, April 16, ocean conservation advocates and experts from across California will convene at the California State Capitol for Ocean Day. Efforts to lessen sea level rise impacts, reduce marine debris, and implement the Marine Life Protection Act have created a groundswell of support for smart and science-based ocean policy. Residents and activists will meet with legislators to send the message that marine conservation should continue to be a priority for the state. With California’s ocean economy driving $43 billion in revenue and nearly 400,000 jobs each year, sustainable management is a wise investment.

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Blog Post

Dana Point Plastic Bag Ban in Effect

Dana Point's plastic bag ban is in effect. Thanks to all our members, activists, and supporters for their great work in this issue!

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News Release | Environment California

Statewide plastic bag ban bill moves ahead

Sacramento – Legislation to ban single-use plastic bags across California took another step toward becoming law. The Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee voted this afternoon to approve AB 158, setting the stage for a final vote on the Assembly floor later this session. As written by Assemblymember Marc Levine (San Rafael), the bill would ban single-use plastic checkout bags in grocery, drug and convenience stores.

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News Release | Environment California

Huntington Beach bans plastic bags

The Huntington Beach City Council voted tonight to ban single-use plastic bags within city limits. With its vote, Huntington Beach became the 70th local government in California to take action against plastic bag pollution. Over seven million Californians, nearly one out of every five people residing in the state, now live in a community that has approved a single-use plastic bag ban.

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Blog Post

Environment California calls for marine sanctuary expansion

Environment California Research & Policy Center calls on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to add 2,770 square miles of ocean to existing marine sanctuaries along the northern California coastline. The expansion would protect the nutrient upwelling sites that power the food web within the existing sanctuary. The upwelling feeds diverse populations of sea birds and marine mammals, including blue whales, Stellar sea lions, seven species of threatened and endangered seabirds, and five species of sea turtles.

Keep reading to see our coalition's letter to NOAA!

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