Plastic bags pose a particular problem in the world’s oceans, where they have become entangled in the food chain and pose a hazard to a wide range of species. Sea turtles frequently mistake plastic bags for their favorite meal, jellyfish, and can become very ill or die from ingesting the plastic bags they come across in their hunt for food. As this clip illustrates, even dolphins find plastic bags interesting, as this one uses it as a toy – this playful encounter may not be particularly dangerous, but it is clear that plastic bags do not belong in the oceans and that our use of these bags is contributing to a global problem with plastics in our seas.
Hawaii has just passed a ban on single-use plastic bags throughout the state. The Los Angeles City Council has voted 13 to 1 in favor of phasing out plastic bags over the next 16 months at an estimated 7,500 stores in the city. The result will be shoppers will need to either bring reusable bags or purchase paper bags for $.10 each. Several other cities around the world have passed their own plastic bag bans – learn more about this important movement at the Plastic Bag Ban Report!