In the final day of the legislative session on Friday, the State Senate failed to act on AB 298, a bill to ban single-use plastic bags statewide. This bill would have been a major step forward in protecting the Pacific Ocean from plastic pollution, according to Environment California.
“Nothing that we use for a few minutes should pollute the ocean for hundreds of years” said Dan Jacobson, Legislative Director for Environment California. “Californians understand this and are taking action in their communities to protect the Pacific.”
Plastic pollution from single-use bags affects 267 species every year. One of those animals is the Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle. These species consume hundreds of jellyfish each day and easily mistake plastic bags for their favorite food. In fact, one third of adult turtles have ingested plastic, according to a recent report by the Turtle Island Restoration Network. Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtles have declined 95% in the last two decades.
In the past 2 years, over 50 cities or counties have voted to ban single-use plastic bags. When all of these ordinances go into affect, almost one-third of Californian’s will live in bag-free communities.
“Going reusable is not a revolutionary concept,” said Dan Jacobson, “More cities are banning bags each month, but unfortunately our state legislators are getting left behind on this issue.”
Image source: San Diego Coastkeeper