Thursday, December 15, 2011

Seattle Proposes Plastic Bag Ban

Seattle has joined the list of places that are pursuing a ban on single-use plastic bags. The city received a wake-up call late last month when more than 20 plastic bags were found inside the stomach of a juvenile gray whale stranded at Puget Sound.

People for Puget Sound posted a guest blog entry by David Todd that explains the situation: "Gray Whale's Death a Wakeup Call About Plastics."

On its website, the organization cites the following reasons for banning plastic bags:

"We need to take action because:
* Plastics harm our wildlife. Birds, fish, and whales can choke on them, they are poisonous, and they can become entangled.
* We need to reduce plastic pollution into our lakes, streams, Puget Sound and the ocean.
* Plastic bags are light-weight and easily blow into our waters. They break down into tiny bits but don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years.
* The tiny pieces of plastic, including plastic bag pieces, are called microplastics, and are floating in Puget Sound. Every water sample taken in Puget Sound so far by researchers at UW Tacoma have plastic bits.
* Tiny plastics are a pathway for toxic chemicals. Plastics attract toxic chemicals like a sponge. Fish then eat these plastic bits - and we eat the fish.
* Plastics are accumulating in our world’s oceans. The most researched area, so far, is the North Pacific Gyre where a floating thin soup of plastics is in an area that is estimated to be greater than the size of Texas."

For more info about Seattle's proposed ordinance, click here.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Help Support Oregon's Marine Reserves

Banning single-use plastic bags will start the vital process of protecting our ocean from plastic pollution. A related effort in support of our ocean's health is establishing Marine Reserves. Asking Governor Kitzaber to move this goal forward is what this group of letter writers from the Mary’s Peak Group of the Oregon Sierra Club is involved in. These letters can be sent to the office of Governor Kitzhaber before and after the legislative session that starts December 5th. Oregon is the only state on the Pacific Ocean that does not have a marine reserve or a National Marine Sanctuary. We have one of the most beautiful and productive oceans in the world; let's keep it that way. Join us in protecting a small piece of it for the future. Click here, and send that letter today.