Sept 26 - Plastic Bags Pose Threat to Turtles off CA Coast

The San Francisco Chronicle today published a timely article: Giant Sea Turtle Noshing Jellyfish off Point Reyes by Environmental Writer Glen Martin, that describes both the beauty of and threat to these rarely seen giants:

Sea turtles the size of sports cars are swimming off the Marin County coast, chowing down on jellyfish and thrilling boaters lucky enough to spot them.

Leatherbacks are found around the globe, but their numbers have dropped drastically in recent years. The Pacific population is especially at risk, said Karen Steele, the campaign coordinator for Save the Leatherback, a Marin County-based group.

The decline of the species is largely due to human collection of their eggs on their nesting beaches and the killing of adults by drift net and long-line fisheries, she said.

Some turtle deaths are also linked to trash -- particularly plastic bags, which the turtles mistake for jellyfish.

Read the complete article here.

For more information on Leatherback Turtles, check out the Seaturtle Restoration Project

Plastic bags are one of the most prolific litter items on this planet. Every year, California retailers distribute more than 19 billion plastic bags, less than 5% of which are currently recycled. Even plastic bags that are initially properly disposed can become 'inadvertent' litter, blowing out of trash cans, garbage trucks, and even landfills. To help address the plastic bag litter and waste problem, the California legislature last month passed AB 2449 (Levine), legislation that, for the first time, will require most large retailers to take back and recycle plastic bags.

AB 2449 is supported by environmental groups, local governments, and others and is currently awaiting a signature on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk.

What You Can Do

  • TAKE ACTION and send a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger in support of AB 2449.