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


California Legislature Will Reconsider Browneley Bag Ban in 2012

In an interview last week with Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, California Progress Report has learned the Santa Monica Democrat plans to fight once more to make California first in the nation to ban single-use, non-biodegradable plastic bags.

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SLO Passes Regional Bag Ban in First Hearing

San Luis Obispo County’s waste management board Wednesday witha 7-5 vote to pass the proposed ordinance that would ban single-use plastic bags.

The Integrated Waste Management Board's vote does not put the ordinance in place. Rather, it allows a final decision Jan. 11.

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Berkeley City Council Vote Unanimously to Pass Bag Ban Resolution

With Alameda County poised to adopt a single-use plastic bag ban soon, the Berkeley City Council decided at its meeting Tuesday night to officially inform the public that such a ban may be on its way in the city.

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San Francisco Set to Expand Bag Ban

Word of advice to the future shoppers of San Francisco: Bring your own bag — and not just for groceries. Under new proposed legislation, all bags from all retail operations in The City would cost an extra dime each, and 25 cents by mid-2014.

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Monterey Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

Monterey City Council unanimously approved a ban on the distribution of single-use plastic bags Tuesday night, making Monterey the first Peninsula city to enact such a ban.

> Keep Reading


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