Why plastic bags should be banned–tragic otter pup photo

Save our Shores from Santa Cruz posted this horrific blog entry yesterday entitled Ever wonder how plastic affects marine animals? It shows a picture taken by local photographer Terry McCormac, of a sea otter frantically struggling to remove a plastic bag that encased her pup. I suggest you only look at the picture if you’re morbidly curious or ready for a good cry. 

Marine debris is a huge problem for wildlife, and plastic bags are one of the worst problems. The movement to ban harmful sources of debris like plastic bags and styrofoam has been met with push-back from industry groups, like the American Chemistry Council. 

While cities like San Francisco have been able to successfully ban plastic bags, industry reps are bullying other cities considering the move. NPR reported that plastics industry representatives threatened to sue the city of Fairfax for considering a plastic bag ban, and the city ended the campaign on the fear that it could not afford a costly legal battle against industry giants. Fairfax only has about a population of about 7000. According to the story, most local business responded by voluntarily banning plastic bags. (San Francisco Plastic Bag Ban Interests Other Cities) Great response to an incredibly well-funded industry that can drop over a million dollars to fight even a simple plastic bag fee, as BagMonster reports happened in Seattle

Ironically, industry representatives claim to be protecting the environment. How? They’re saving trees. The logic is that if people can’t use plastic they will use paper, which comes from trees. And we know that saving trees makes you an environmentalist, therefore… 

Of course this logic doesn’t stand against the third option–bringing your own bag! This is, of course, the perfect option for those of us who love otters and trees. 

flickr user kouk

Save our Shores is working on a plastic bag ban in Santa Cruz–be sure to sign their petition.


About Allison

I am the new Executive Director of The Otter Project in Monterey, California! Originally from the Bay Area, I went to school in San Diego, and came back north to Monterey for graduate school, where I found my calling: saving sea otters! Working for The Otter Project combines my passion for environmental policy with my love of animals. When not advocating for sea otters, I enjoy yoga, volunteer wildlife rehab, reading, and spending time with my cat Alyssa, who, for the record, I did not name. I have been with The Otter Project since November of 2007.
This entry was posted in conservation, Outreach and Awareness, Partners and friends, Water Quality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why plastic bags should be banned–tragic otter pup photo

  1. pgabrielsen says:

    This is one bag on one otter – are there any other reports of otter entanglements?

    • The Otter Project says:

      Yes, although it depends what we mean by entanglements. Sea otters explore many kinds of submerged traps. Otters have been found in Dungeness crap traps, lobster traps, and fish traps.

  2. reema says:

    very bad 1

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