Conservation & Science

#MyBag #MiBolsa: Take a stand against single-use plastic bags

Ocean plastic pollution is a problem  a big problem – for the health of the ocean and ocean wildlife. In California, we’re making progress by tackling it on several fronts.

Right now, the Legislature is close to passing the nation’s strongest law to eliminate the use of non-biodegradable microbeads in consumer products. In recent years, cities and counties throughout California have banned single-use plastic bags. And in 2014, California enacted a statewide ban on disposable plastic shopping bags, authored by three of the Aquarium’s 2015 Ocean Champion Award winners – Secretary of State (and former state senator) Alex Padilla, State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and State Senator Ricardo Lara.

Green sea turtle trying to eat a plastic bag It seems a jellyfish
Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for a favorite snack, jellyfish.

That law established California as a leader in the fight against the growing tide of ocean plastic pollution. It was supposed to take effect on July 1 – until out-of-state plastic bag companies spent millions of dollars to force the issue onto the November 2016 ballot. Without the law, each year as many as 13 billion plastic bags will be sold in California that would otherwise not be sold. Every bag could potentially make its way to the ocean.

Implementation of a statewide ban on single-use bags has been delayed, but not derailed. Victory over the effort to repeal this law is a top Aquarium priority, as taking steps backward is unacceptable. We’re asking you join us and Say Yes on the referendum to keep this law: Say Yes to a plastic-free ocean. Say Yes to reusable shopping bags. Say Yes to California’s leadership on this critical issue.

It starts this week, with a statewide #MyBag and #MiBolsa campaign to draw attention to the issue, and to inspire action in support of the ban. And you can help.

Executive Director Julie Packard dives into the #MyBag campaign. Won't you join her?
Executive Director Julie Packard dives into the #MyBag campaign. Won’t you join her?

Take a photo while shopping with your favorite reusable bag – maybe with your family and friends. Post your selfie to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, with the #MyBag or #MiBolsa hashtag. Encourage others to follow your example so we can move past the era of disposable plastic bag pollution.

You’ll have lots of company.

A coalition of state leaders, celebrities and environmental advocates are marking the day with their own photos: Gov. Jerry Brown. Secretary Alex Padilla. Singer Jack Johnson, our inaugural Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award recipient. State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. And many more.

We’ll keep addressing the issue, including through our next Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit for teachers this fall. And we’ll look for your help when the issue is on the California ballot in November 2016.

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