Plastic pollution affects every lake, river, sea and ocean in the world. According to a new report launched at the World Economic Forum, at least 8 metric tons of plastic debris enters the ocean every year, which is the equivalent of dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. The report warns that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 if we don’t do something about it.
The impacts to wildlife are tremendous. Zooplankton at the base of the food chain are ingesting microplastics. Up to 90% of seabirds already have plastic in their guts. A quarter of fish sold at supermarkets contain plastic debris. Countless marine mammals die from ingestion or entanglement. Sea turtles eat jellyfish which floating plastic bags in the ocean closely resemble. The Ocean Conservancy recently deemed plastic bags as the #2 deadliest threat to sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals.
In an attempt to mitigate an easily preventable form of plastic pollution, Senate Bill 270 (Padilla, De Leon, Lara) was adopted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown establishing a statewide ban on the distribution of single-use plastic grocery bags at most stores in 2014. It was the culmination of a 5 year effort that included the adoption of hundreds of local bag bans and the support of local governments, environmental groups, grocers, retailers and labor organizations.
Immediately after SB 270 was signed, out-of-state plastic bag manufacturers spent more than $3 million on a paid signature gathering effort to qualify a referendum for the November 2016 ballot for voters to decide its fate. This postponement of the law has resulted in the continued distribution of more than 192 million single-use plastic bags every week.
Single-use plastic bags are damaging to the environment and wildlife, expensive to clean up, and an easily preventable source of litter.
Check out this great Mockumentary created by Heal the Bay in an effort to support legislation that led the way for 2014's statewide ban. Please sign up above to receive emails about how you can help defeat the Plastic Bag Industry's Referendum.
Click Here to visit www.Protectplasticbagban.org and learn more about the coalition of local communities and environmental advocates fighting the Plastic Bag Industry's Referendum.
Click Here to learn about how plastic bag companies have used legal harassment to intimidate local communities.
The numbers tell the story of why these bags must be eliminated:
- 13-19 Billion plastic bags are discarded in California every year
- 1 Trillion plastic bags are discarded in the United States every decade
- 3-5 percent of plastic bags are recycled
- 151 California cities and counties have already banned plastic bags
- 12 California cities and counties have been sued by plastic companies for enacting bans
- $3.2 Million has been spent by Plastic Companies to qualify a Referendum to overturn California's bag ban
- $50 Million is the amount Plastic Companies are expected to spend on paid advertisements and public relations related to their Referendum
- $208 Million is the revenue Plastic Companies make every year in California selling single-use plastic bags
- $34 million to $107 Million in taxpayer dollars are spent cleaning up plastic bags from storm drains and streets every year in California