Great Pacific Cleanup
The Pacific Ocean is a part of California’s culture, from the surfing in San Diego to the boardwalk in Santa Monica, to the cliffs in Santa Cruz. When people think about California, they see beaches, the ocean, sea lions, and waves. We need to do everything we can to protect it, and the easiest thing we can do is ban plastic bags. They clog our shores and swirl in our ocean, killing millions of sea turtles and marine life every year.
California uses 12 billion plastic bags per year. All of this plastic not only clogs up our landfills, it’s also hurting the ocean. Right now there is an island of trash twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific. This floating trash island is full of plastic bags and other artificial debris. It kills millions of birds and marine animals like sea turtles every year. If we don't start cleaning up our act here in California, it will only keep growing.
Too much of this trash heap comes from things we don’t need, like plastic grocery bags. Nothing we use for a few minutes should be polluting the ocean for hundreds of years!
To a sea turtle, a plastic bag floating in the ocean looks a lot like dinner, a jellyfish to be precise. That's why the plastic bags that find their way into the Pacific pose an often-fatal risk to wildlife. We're working to build support for a ban on plastic bags in California.
Of course, the companies that make and sell 11.9 billion bags are fighting to maintain the status quo, fronted by the lobbying team from the American Chemistry Council. But we need to do what is best for the Pacific Ocean and our future.
The rest of the world is already taking action. More than 25 countries have plastic bag bans including India and China. It’s time for California to lead the way to cleaning up plastic pollution in the U.S. We've gotten a good start. Already, fourteen cities and counties have banned plastic bags and another 29 have introduced bans.
This year, we're working to get the 9 cities our chapters are in to ban single-use plastic bags and to build support for a statewide ban.
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