By Ted Reckas

Tuesday evening marked a win for the ocean, hence, us all. Laguna Beach and Dana Point enacted new ordinances banning plastic bags. The cities became the first in Orange County to do so, and showed they understand the importance of dealing with plastic that ends up in the ocean.

(Read the OC Register’s story on the plastic bag ban.)

Plastic bags aren’t the only issue. We throw away tons and tons of plastic bottles, forks, wrappers and packaging, cigarette lighters, plastic lids of to-go cups, etc.

This CNN report powerfully shows the unaccounted for cost of plastic production, which is still going at full steam, despite plastic bag bans in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Mumbai, Italy and…that’s right…China. Its funny it took us this long to figure out how to bring our own bags to the grocery store. What about that cup of joe this morning—bring your own mug?

Back to the unaccounted for cost of plastic, the North Pacific Gyre – that huge area of high plastic concentration in the ocean – it turns out, is not an anomaly. Large amounts of plastic trash have been documented in all five major gyres: North and South Pacific, North and South Atlantic, and Indian Ocean. Plastic is out there, slowly swirling into floating dumps thousands of miles across. (Here’s what it does to sea birds.) And we are the source of it.

I know Laguna Beach and Dana Point are not responsible for the trash that has been washed down from up stream – our beaches would be a lot cleaner if other cities banned plastic bags too. But we’re up stream from someone else. And it’s not a stream, it’s a cycle. The gyres remind us what other parts of that cycle, beyond our sight, look like.

Kudos to Zero Trash Laguna.

How cool would it be if organizations like that were obsolete?

Tuesday we came a step closer to that happening.

Recommended Posts