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