5.14.2009

No plastic bags on Outer Banks


North Carolina took an important step forward this week towards phasing out plastic bags. Sen. Josh Stein’s (D-Wake) bill - No plastic bags on Outer Banks - bans plastic bags on the Outer Banks except for some very limited uses. The NC Senate approved the measure by a vote of 49-1. It's now headed to the House.

The Outer Banks - and coastal North Carolina - provide critical habitat to many species of shore birds and sea turtles (pictured above, the critically endangered Kemps Ridley, which recently started frequenting NC beaches). Loggerhead sea turtles typically breed on Cape Hatteras, but Green sea turtles, Atlantic Ridleys, and Atlantic Hawksbill have also been spotted frequenting our shores. In the water, plastic bags mimic the appearance of jelly fish, a favorite of marine life:

It has been estimated that over a million birds and 100,000 marine animals, including mammals and turtles, die each year from plastic debris.

It's a good move by the Senate, and one that will see a lot less junk ending up in our waters. And it will cut down on wasteful, unnecessary use of petroleum.

For context: According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans use about 100 million plastic bags each year—most of which end up in landfills. Sierra Club estimates that 11 million barrels of oil are needed to produce one ton of plastic grocery bags.

8 comments:

  1. Wow! This is a great bill. North Carolina is a treasure chest of rare/unique plants and animals. It would be a shame to let waste like plastic bags ruin the habitat of these turtles.

    Sierra Club: Do you think this will pass the House and get approved?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jessica,
    It can pass the House if there is enough support. Everyone should contact their Representative (as well as other Representatives) and ask for support.

    ReplyDelete
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