May 4 â€" CA Coast & Ocean: The Oceans' Plastic Plague

The Winter Volume of California Coast and Ocean, a publication of the California Coastal Conservancy, recently released an article titled, "The Oceans' Plastic Plague", which is packed with information on plastic debris.  Writer Eileen Ecklund provides readers with many details (not to mention pictures) of the sheer mass of plastic pollution threatening our oceans, composing a compelling story which is at once fascinating and frightening:

…One thing the North Pacific subtropical gyre has plenty of, though, is plastic. Plastic debris swirls with the current for miles and miles, brought here from around the Pacific Rim. In 1999, researchers from the Long Beach-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation discovered six pounds of plastic for every pound of zooplankton floating in the surface waters of the gyre. This included not only such ubiquitous debris as plastic bottles and bags, but also hundreds of tiny plastic fragments floating in what Algalita founder Charles Moore describes as a "plastic-plankton soup."

CAW Executive Director Mark Murray, was a primary source for the article, which describes CAW's efforts to increase producer responsiblity for reducing plastic waste: “We’re encouraging manufacturers to play a greater role to reduce waste from plastic bags and containers”

The full article, which is very readable and informative, can be found in the Winter volume (price $4.95 US) or you can take a look at the story, and the pictures in a color version, here.  

CAW has a long-standing history of trying to reduce the amount of plastic being landfilled and littered.  Besides the historical achievement of spearheading, passing and continuing to refine California’s bottle bill, CAW maintains its plastics front with new bills every legislative session.  This year we are working on legislation that addresses marine debris with AB 1940, we are trying to get Styrofoam food packaging out of the State Capitol Cafeteria (and other state agencies) with AB 1866, and working to establish a uniform recycling program for plastic bags at grocery store with AB 2449.  Read more about Plastics Issues here with CAW, or click on the links above to see the details on our bills and to get involved.