Great Pacific Cleanup

The Pacific Ocean is a part of California’s culture, from the surfing in San Diego to the boardwalk in Santa Monica, to the cliffs in Santa Cruz. When people think about California, they see beaches, the ocean, sea lions, and waves. We need to do everything we can to protect it, and the easiest thing we can do is ban plastic bags. They clog our shores and swirl in our ocean, killing millions of sea turtles and marine life every year.

California uses 12 billion plastic bags per year. All of this plastic not only clogs up our landfills, it’s also hurting the ocean. Right now there is an island of trash twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific. This floating trash island is full of plastic bags and other artificial debris. It kills millions of birds and marine animals like sea turtles every year. If we don't start cleaning up our act here in California, it will only keep growing.

Too much of this trash heap comes from things we don’t need, like plastic grocery bags. Nothing we use for a few minutes should be polluting the ocean for hundreds of years!

To a sea turtle, a plastic bag floating in the ocean looks a lot like dinner, a jellyfish to be precise. That's why the plastic bags that find their way into the Pacific pose an often-fatal risk to wildlife. 

Of course, the companies that make and sell 11.9 billion bags are fighting to maintain the status quo, fronted by the lobbying team from the American Chemistry Council. But we need to do what is best for the Pacific Ocean and our future.

CALPIRG collected over fifty thousand public comments from students across the state and helped ban bags in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Davis and Santa Barbara. Then CALPIRG built support for a ban on plastic bags in California and defended that ban by helping to pass Prop 67 in California in Fall 2016. 

Issue updates

News Release | CALPIRG | Oceans

CALPIRG Students Support Koretz and L.A. Bag Ban Ordinance

Los Angeles is considering a ban on plastic bags as part of a bag ban ordinance introduced by Councilmember Paul Koretz.

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Media Hit | Oceans

Students urge Berkeley to ban plastic bags

Environmentalists, students, a U.S. poet laureate, and a local politician turned up the pressure on Berkeley Wednesday to ban plastic carryout bags.

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