Plastic Bags in Our Oceans

Plastic bags in our oceans are a source of dioxin and other pollutants that are changing marine habitats and polluting our food chain.

No matter how much we try to keep our cities clean, many plastic bags end up as litter.  If your city is like mine, Los Angeles, you see them on the streets every day.  Some are cleaned up at public expense,  but most get washed into the gutter and into our waterways.  There, they break up into tiny pieces and eventually make their way to the oceans.

Plastic from cities around the world is accumulating at a an alarming rate in the center of the north Pacific, a thousand miles off the coast of California in the North Pacific Gyre.  In 2004, researchers found 6 pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton in the North Pacific Gyre.  In 2008, researchers find 42 pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton.  That’s 8 times more plastic in just 4 years.

Thousands of marine animals choke and die from ingesting this plastic, and many more are being slowly poisoned by the dioxin and other pollutants introduced by this mass of plastic.   Dioxin is an endocrine disrupter, a so-called gender-bender pollutant because it causes gender mutations in fish and land animals that eat fish, like sea bass, seals, and even polar bears.

Help stop the plastic accumulating in our oceans by using reusable bags and reducing plastic in your other consumer choices as well. Every bag counts and you can help!

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