A recent study made possible by the collaboration between the University of British Colombia and the California Academy of Sciences not only brings to light some shocking facts about marine plastic debris effects on animals, but also provides some equally disturbing photos of this worsening problem.
The study entitled, "Plastic Pollution, An Ocean Emergency", focused mainly on the impacts of marine litter on the sea turtle population, finding that 75% of the population studied had swallowed some type of plastic, most commonly plastic bags due to their resemblance to jellyfish.
The article provides some highly troubling statistics about our plastic bag consumption, stating "Though only .025 percent of all plastic ends up in the ocean, that's .025 percent of 260 million tons manufactured each year. One billion single-use plastic bags are distributed every day. Up to three in every 1,000 find a way to the ocean."
There are many sides to the plastic bag issue besides green house gas emissions, petroleum reliance, and whether or not plastic bags have a larger carbon footprint than paper bags. The bottom line is that plastic consumption in general is not sustainable at its current levels. CAW believes recycling is not enough, but we must also remember to reduce and reuse as well.
Because of the low recycling rates of plastic bags, and the nearly nonexistent market for recycled plastic bag material, CAW supports local ordinances to ban plastic bags and encourages reusable bags in their place. We encourage you to spread the facts about why plastic bag bans are a step in right direction, and to support plastic bag bans throughout California. To keep up to date about local bag bans in your area and how you can support them, visit the links below.