Plastic garbage in our oceans has been a known problem for many years, and a recent study conducted by University of Wisconsin-Superior researchers found plastic particles in the Great Lakes for the second year in a row. Plastic debris had previously been discovered in Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie and this recent research uncovered plastic in Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario. “The accumulation of plastic particles is a great threat to our natural ecosystem and to the humans who use Lake Superior for our drinking water supply,” said Mary Balcer, director of the Lake Superior Research Institute at UW-Superior.
A recent study reported in MNN found that sea turtles are eating more and more plastic with some species eating almost twice as much today, as compared to 25 years ago. When any animal consumes plastic, it can become lodged in the animal’s digestive system and lead to death. It’s also very easy for an animal to become tangled in plastic trash and that can leave the animal unable to fend for itself. Trash in general is a problem, but because plastic is not biodegradable and holds up just fine in water, it is almost indestructible and this is a big problem for all animals who call the oceans home.
Litter needs to be cleaned up because it is just ugly to look at and it is a serious danger to animals both on land and in the water. Animals can eat the bags and die or they can become tangled in the bags and are left defenseless. Litter mars the natural beauty of our parks, beaches and homes and there is just no place for it. But just how much money does it cost anyway?
In a recent poll put on the TheCalifornian.com an impressive 74 percent of respondents indicated they whole heartedly support the notion of banning plastic bags and that they would readily bring their own reusable grocery bags when they shop. This is great news and shows that folks are serious about taking this step, eliminating disposable plastic bags from the waste stream and helping the planet.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) is an amazing organization that formed in response to a recognized need to provide public involvement to advance stronger environmental policy. This not-for-profit group with offices throughout Connecticut and New York has been going strong for 25 years and they seek to educate the public about environmental problems and solutions while encouraging participation in environmental campaigns.
Disposable plastic bags are deserving of the bad reputation they’ve garnered. They use up valuable non-renewable resources during the manufacturing process while also releasing dangerous greenhouse gases, and they are not biodegradable, so they never really go away.
There are a lot of people working every day to ban single use plastic bags in their hometowns and communities. Their reasons may differ, but concern for the environment is usually a common theme. This week for What’s In the News Wednesday, we’ve rounded up several locations that have either expanded their disposable bag ban (congratulations, West Hollywood!) or are working to implement their own ordinance.
Enjoy the Outdoors and Help the Planet
With summer in full swing, a day at the beach can be a great way to spend an afternoon while enjoying the outdoors. The warm sun and the cool water can make for a relaxing time, and while you want to make the most of your time at the beach, you also want to make sure you do right by the environment.
Latest News on Bag Bans
There are so many cities, counties and even countries that have implemented bans on single use plastic bags. To help track this movement we’ve put together an interactive map that highlights areas with bag bans, places where officials attempted to pass a ban with no luck and cities that have laws levying a fee on disposable shopping bags. If you haven’t had a chance – check it out! Here are some new locations that recently popped up on our map.
Chicago has had an ongoing discussion about disposable plastic bags for quite a while now. It all started back in October of 2011 when a plastic bag ban was suggested. The State of Illinois made headlines last summer when their Governor attempted to pass radical pro plastic bag legislation in response to the suggested ban. After a lot of hard work, the proposal the Governor had supported did not pass, and while nothing is final, it looks like Chicago is closer than ever to banning disposable plastic bags throughout the city.