While many cities within the United States have taken the initiative to ban the use of plastic bags, the entire state of California has bumped up environmental protection to the next level. Just this week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the first ever statewide ban on single-use plastic bags that will come into effect starting in July, 2015.
While this ban may seem to be a little inconvenient for grocery stores and business owners who go through hundreds of plastic bags a day, we’ll have you know that most Californian business owners are welcoming the ban. Seeing as how plastic bags can cost a single shop millions of dollars a year, perhaps transitioning to paper and cloth bags may not be such a bad idea. To help encourage businesses to transition to greener forms of packaging, California will also provide $2 million in loans to those who show an intent to switch to greener methods such as the creation of paper or reusable bags.
Governor Brown is proud of the bill’s success and stated, “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
Plastic bags are considered to be such a huge problem because of their impact on the environment – specifically the ocean – when not recycled properly. Plastic products in general already make up about 60 to 80 percent of marine pollution, but plastic bags are often targeted by environmental groups because of how frequently they are used and how easy they are to find.
With the help of California’s ban, it is estimated that the state could reduce plastic bag pollution by a whopping 13 billion bags! With such a drastic decrease in plastic pollution rates, we can guarantee that plenty of animals (millions of which are killed by plastic products annually) will be happy about to hear about this plan! Here are five marine-dwellers who are super happy about California’s decision to say no to single-use plastic bags!
1. Sea Turtles
To a sea turtle who relies on sight above all other senses when finding food, plastic bags can look an awful lot like sea jellies. Every year, hundreds of endangered sea turtles are placed at risk of consuming plastic products. Hopefully, California’s ban on plastics will be a victory for sea turtle populations!
After seeing these images of a deceased albatross full of plastics, it’s no wonder California is taking the initiative to ban one of the most used plastic-based items! This happy bird is ready to raise chicks without accidentally feeding them caps, straws, and bags!
3. Sperm Whales
Back in 2013, a sperm whale washed up onto the shores of Spain with over 59 kinds of plastics in it’s stomach. While the incident occurred in Spain, these whales exist in every ocean and are still considered to be an endangered species. Maybe the ban on plastics will help them safely raise their calves without the lurking fear of consuming the wrong things.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Lead image source: Liam Quinn/Wikimedia Commons