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 as they make their way to the oceans.

Plastic from cities around the world is accumulating at an alarming rate.  In 2004, researchers found 6 pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton in the North Pacific Gyre. In 2008, researchers from Algalita Marine Research Institute found 42 pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton. That’s 8 times more plastic in just 4 years.

A recent study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum claims that the equivalent of one dump truck full of plastic enters the ocean every minute.  Scientists estimate that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2020 unless we drastically change our plastic habits.

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.

The plastic in our oceans affects us all.  It enters our food chain. It contributes to extinction. It pollutes the very water that replenishes our planet.

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