A blog set out to explore, archive & relate plastic pollution happening world-wide, while learning about on-going efforts and solutions to help break free of our addiction to single-use plastics & sharing this awareness with a community of clean water lovers everywhere!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

California Beaches Receive A Cleanup From Thousands of Volunteers

 Posted By Juan Reyes September 16, 2012 on Patch.com

Cowell's Beach along with dozens of others statewide got a well deserved cleanup from the Save Our Shores organization along with the California Coastal Commission Cleanup Day and the Ocean Conservancy International Cleanup Day events.

A lot of people spent Saturday morning packing up their umbrellas, fold-up chairs, towels, and sunscreen lotion to head out the beach in hopes of a great time in the recent beautiful sunny weather.

But for thousands of local volunteers from the Save Our Shores organization, the day started with picking up cigarette butts, plastic cups, food wrappers and other mysterious items that would surely need the assistance of a pair of gloves.

This year marked the 28th anniversary that Save Our Shores has participated in the beach clean up day at Cowell's Beach along with the California Coastal Commission Clean Up Day event and the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean Up.

And according to Save Our Shores program coordinator Rachel Kippen, the three of them combined makes up the largest volunteer event on earth.

Some 3,500  volunteers collected 16,827 pounds of debris on Santa Cruz and Monterey County beaches, according to organizers. In Santa Cruz County, 2,354 volunteers cleaned 76 miles of beach, river, lake, creek and slough of 9,947 pounds of debris.

“We like participating in it because it is our biggest volunteer event of the year and we do over 250 beach cleanups every year,” she said. “This is a really great way to rope more people in in our community and also people that are just visiting for the weekend.”

Kippen has been with the group for a little over two months and likes what she has seen so far from the people that want to help keep the beaches clean and safe to be on.

“We really appreciate having the local community come out and volunteer cleaning up our local beaches, our local waters ways, lakes, streams because all of that runs down to the Pacific,” said Kippen.

“We’re really encouraging folks to try to reduce their single use plastic consumption,” she said. “Plastic pollution is a huge problem and we find it on these beaches, it’s in the cigarette butts that we picked up which were hundreds of those today.”

A group of students from Independence High School in San Jose also made the trip and first time volunteer Jannat Thanh admitted that guilt took a part on why she helped out at Saturday’s event.

“I saw pictures of animals like a turtle that was wrapped up in the six-pack rings and it grew into it,” she said. “It was kind of deformed and I felt bad for the animals.”

Her friend from the group, Emily Gallardo, also came to help out for the first time and was interested in participating in the Save Our Shores event from an announcement in school.

“I first heard about it in my marine biology class and then we started doing more research on how the plastic and all the debris affected the animal’s lives,” said Gallardo. “You just start to pity the animals and you want to help them out after that.”

Another reason Gallardo and Thanh also helped out was because of an interesting theory they learned in class called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a landfill of trash that roams out on top of the surface and down bellow the floors of the cold sea.

According to the Save Our Shores website, the top ten items that are collected during the beach cleanups from 2007–August 2011 are plastic cups (12,572), plastic bottle caps (17,967), glass pieces (28,083), plastic bags (28,454), fireworks (32,629), paper pieces (36,866), Styrofoam pieces (46,693), plastic food wrappers (66,381), plastic pieces (86,246), and in numero uno are the disgusting cigarette butts (228,776).

And although Kippen is all about keeping local shops open and having tourist come hang out in the area, her effort to clean up the beaches also goes back to saving the environment for the oceanic wildlife.

“People come to Santa Cruz and Monterey and want to enjoy this beautiful sanctuary and if our beaches are trashed it deters tourist, it hurts our economy, and hurts our local business,” said Kippen. “Then on an eco system level, the animals in the ocean didn’t evolve in an ocean that had our plastic pollution in it and that harms them in so many different ways.”

“This is kind of the last effort that we can get the garbage before it gets into the ocean,” said Kippen “The beach clean up is the last line of defense but we really want to stop it before it gets here.”

The Plastics Breakdown: An Infographic

Posted by Ted Reckas | September 13 2012 on OneWorldOneOcean.com

We've been posting on plastic ocean pollution all week in advance of International Coastal Cleanup Day, happening tomorrow. It's an amazing event that removes literally tons of plastic from coastlines and waterways around the world every year.

Trash, and specifically plastic, in the ocean is a huge issue and it's fixable if we all tune in to our plastic use.

Many people don't realize how big the problem is, or how harmful plastic is to sea life, so we made an infographic to lay it all out. Click here to download the PDF (10MB) or the image below to view full size.

Invisible Plastic Soup is Harming Ocean Animals

Posted by Environmental News Service on September 26, 2012

WAGENINGEN, The Netherlands, September 26, 2012 (ENS) – Plastic nanoparticles released when plastic debris decomposes in seawater can have an adverse effect on sea animals, Dutch scientists have found. 

Nanoparticles of plastic measuring just thirty millionths of a millimeter, invisible to the naked eye, are responsible for inhibiting feeding and growth in mussels, according to new research by Professor Bart Koelmans of Wageningen University and his research team.

They published a report of their investigations in the most recent issue of the journal “Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.”

“The presence of plastic soup in the oceans is regarded as a big problem,” says Koelmans, a professor of water and sediment quality who is associated with IMARES, the Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies, at Wageningen University.
Mussels on Dutch shore ( (Photo by Paul Boag)

The plastic soup is formed when plastic debris decomposes in seawater. “Such particles are probably also released from cosmetics and from clothes in the wash, subsequently entering the sewage system and surface waters and eventually reaching the sea,” Koelmans explains.

Koelmans and his team exposed mussels to various concentrations of nanoplastic in order to discover the concentration at which an effect was noticeable. 

They found that the exposed mussels eat less of their normal food, algae, than mussels that have not been exposed to plastic nanoparticles, and they grow less well.

By giving the plastic nanoparticles color, and by measuring them using dynamic light scattering, it was possible to determine the particle concentration that exerted an effect on the test mussels. 

The researchers write that the extent to which the tiny plastic particles clump together is extremely important for understanding particle uptake and the resulting effects in marine organisms. 

“It means that those effects are not easy to predict because the biological availability of the particles can differ enormously from one organism to another, and because variation in water quality also plays a role,” says Koelmans.

Very little is known about the effects plastic nanoparticles have on sea life. The effects revealed by this study do not yet prove that plastic in the North Sea is a big problem, but they do suggest that further research is extremely important, Koelmans said.

This study is the first of four by Wageningen University and IMARES that will investigate the effects of plastic in the North Sea. 

The next will focus on the effect of plastic on lugworms, which lose weight due to uptake of plastic particles. The scientists have already found that as a result of their exposure to nanoplastics the worms take in more toxic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which bind to plastics, than worms that have not been exposed.

Koelmans sees the need for research into other toxic substances that bind to plastic in seawater. 

In order to analyse the interaction of plastic and other toxic substances in the food web, Koelmans’ group has created a detailed computer model to estimate the risks posed by plastics in the sea. 

The final study in this series investigates the effects of plastic debris in the stomachs of fish. The analysis of hundreds of fish shows that 12 percent of them have debris in their stomachs and roughly half of that debris is plastic.

Koelmans says the European Union and the Dutch government recognize the problem and the need to monitor the existence of plastics in the seas in order to learn more about present and future concentrations of plastic micro-particles and nanoparticles in marine environments. 

Environment News Service (http://s.tt/1oqgg)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Paper, plastic, or fee?

Posted on Philly.com August 17, 2012 By Tom Johnson, NJ SPOTLIGHT

N.J. activists, lawmakers pushing bag bills.

When you go into a supermarket, you are usually given a choice: paper or plastic bags to cart your groceries home, unless you are carrying your own reusable grocery bag.

In some states, the choice could cost you a few pennies - including New Jersey, if bills pending in the Legislature become law.

In what may be shaping up as a big battle in the fall legislative session, environmental groups and clean-ocean advocates are pushing lawmakers to either ban single-use plastic bags or charge consumers a fee if they opt for them.

The issue emerged during a hearing this week on the decline of Barnegat Bay. Environmental advocates list - among a host of problems - plastic bags as a cause of rising pollution there.

"They clog up storm drains so they don't function," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Conservationists argue that the bags and other plastics also are a big source of debris in oceans, posing dangers to marine life and sea birds.

John Weber, Northeast regional manager with the Surfrider Foundation, said the United Nations estimated that 100,000 marine mammals and up to one million sea birds die each year from ingesting or becoming tangled in plastics in various forms.

"Bans and fees work," Weber said. "Bag usage drops significantly whenever either is passed. In Washington, D.C., a five-cent fee curtailed plastic bag use by 60 percent within weeks. This not only reduces unsightly litter, it can also reduce the lethal impact on wildlife."

Representatives of the plastics-manufacturing industry disputed that view, telling legislators Monday in Lavalette that plastic bags were more environmentally friendly than paper bags.

"Paper bags have a lot larger carbon footprint than plastic bags," said Donna Dempsey, a spokeswoman for the American Progressive Bag Alliance.

The American Chemistry Council supports that view. According to its website, using paper bags doubles the amount of carbon dioxide produced compared with paper bags; plastic-bag production requires less than 4 percent of the water needed to make paper bags; and paper bags create almost five times more solid waste than plastic bags.

Nonetheless, several regions in the nation have enacted bans on plastic bags, including 50 jurisdictions in California, according to a memo from the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services prepared for the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

There are no statewide bans, fees, or taxes on plastic carryout bags, although legislation is pending, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Philadelphia considered an ordinance banning the bags, but the measure failed.

In New Jersey, seven bills now in the Legislature concern recycling or phasing out noncompostable, single-use plastic bags, and offering reusable bags for purchase. Industry lobbyists dispute the allegation that most plastic bags are resigned to a single use, saying many consumers reuse them.

Industry and business lobbyists argued that the sector was making strides in recycling plastic bags and that, instead of banning their use, the state should ramp up education efforts about the need to recycle.

The effort to ban plastic bags could have an economic impact on New Jersey, Dempsey said, since there are 16 plastics-manufacturing facilities in the state, employing more than 700 people.

Barbara McConnell, vice chair of the New Jersey Clean Communities Council, noted that the state already had a tax on litter-generating products.

Plastics in the Ocean: How Dense Are We?

Posted in the blog Scientific American.com by August 16, 2012

This is Curtis Cove, in Biddeford, Maine, a newly conserved & protected habitat, part of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.
Postcard from paradise
August 3, 2012, low tide
Curtis Cove lies at the end of a long, winding, dead-end road past private estates and private beaches. At the cove, there are no tourists with umbrellas, picnic baskets, and boogie boards. Yet I’ve collected all of this from a mere 150 feet of its shoreline since late winter:
5060 individual pieces of garbage; another 1717 pcs of fishing rope not shown
5060 individual pieces of garbage; another 1717 pcs of fishing rope not shown
With very rare exception, all of this material washed in from the waves. Lobster trap vinyl scraps, bait bags, claw bands, bottle caps, coffee-cup tops, cable ties, plant pot fragments, dollhouse parts, inner tube chunks, a saw handle, coat hangers, a crate lid, an air filter, a car arm rest. On and on, anything you can think of.

Horrifying, that the Gulf of Maine is this fouled. But perhaps expected in a plastic, throwaway world.
What I didn’t expect was to find that if I were trawling the waters for surface debris, I would have missed about 95% of this.

Why? Because most of this material actually sinks in the ocean. Almost everything that’s washed up at Curtis Cove came from the bottom of the Gulf of Maine, not the top.

The range of consumer plastics straddles the density line of seawater. Seawater’s specific gravity (a common measure of density) hovers around 1.027. Generally speaking, anything lower than that will float, anything higher sinks. Polyethylenes and polypropylenes have specific gravity of about 0.900 to 0.970. They float. The other major plastics — styrenes, nylons, polyesters, polyurethanes, vinyls — range from about 1.050 to about 1.440. They sink.

Once wave agitation knocks off the air bubbles clinging to or inside them, Coke bottles sink. Water bottles sink. “SOLO” drink cups sink. Nylon fishing rope sinks. Bait bags sink. Vinyl upholstery scraps sink. PVC pipe sinks. Plastic toys — mostly styrene — sink.

In the relatively shallow continental shelves, auch plastics can bounce and roll along the seafloor for dozens or hundreds of miles, washing up in places like Curtis Cove. In the deep ocean, it’s a different story. In 1997 the container ship Tokio Express dumped 4,756,940 Legos into the sea off of Cornwall, England.

Many washed up in Europe, none confirmed beyond Europe. The reason? After the air bubbles are out of them, they sink. And once they tumble and fall off the continental shelf, game over. They’re 2 miles down, or more. They’re not likely coming back.

In fact, once it falls into the abyss, very little of this sinkable plastic is likely coming back. A 2007 study scoured beaches on Pacific islands, which of course lack a continental shelf.1 The only plastics found washed up on their shores were polyethylenes and polypropylenes.

Moreover, another recent study shows that even lighter plastics tend to become more dense after time at sea, probably as a result of biofouling.2 Perhaps some (most?) grow dense enough to sink too. (An interesting question is whether, once they start sinking, they get “cleaned” of their biofilm by scavengers and then float again. If so, they may be able to spread toxins up and down the water column over years or centuries.)

In a similar vein, research vessels don’t find many light polyethylene grocery bags floating in the deep ocean. Why? They’re bags — they collect sediment, get denser, and sink. Here is what the Rozalia Project is finding on the New England seafloor (Source).
Rozalia plastic bag
Rozalia plastic bag
Down far from manta trawlers and the prying eyes of most ROVs, this polymer cascade leaches its plasticizers, maybe gets consumed, certainly changes abyssal benthic communities in ways that nobody has yet even seen, much less understood.

The problem of plastic pollution is becoming known. Which is good. By now most people are familiar with the scenes of Hawaii’s Kamilo Beach.
August 3, 2012, low tide
Postcard from paradise
The trouble is, Curtis Cove shows that when it comes to seeing what our plastic culture is doing to the ocean, places like Kamilo — and sobering reports from oceanic garbage patches — are literally the tip of the iceberg.

I must take a moment to give a nod of appreciation to Miriam Goldstein, whose ability to point me toward excellent & relevant plastic pollution research is unrivaled!

1 Rios, Lorena M., Moore, Ch. Jones, P.R. Persistent organic pollutants carried by synthetic polymers in the ocean environment. Marine Pollution Bulletin (2007) 54,1230-1237.
2 Morét-Ferguson, S., Lavender Law, K., Proskurowski, G., Murphy, E.K., Peacock, E.E., and Reddy, C.M. The size, mass, and composition of plastic debris in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin (2010).
Harold JohnsonAbout the Author: Harold Johnson lives in Saco, Maine with his wife and young daughter. A freelance copyeditor and writer by trade, he spends his free time studying archaeology, earth sciences, and the ways the natural and manmade world have mingled across millennia. Since May 2010, he has written on marine debris and plastic pollution as The Flotsam Diaries. Follow on Twitter @FlotsamDiaries.

A 36-Foot Tall Whirlwind of Garbage

Have you ever felt like you lived in a dump and wished all the trash was miraculously swept away? Beijing-based artist Wang Zhiyuan helps us visualize what a whirlwind of trash, ascending into the air would look like in his piece entitled Thrown to the Wind. While it seems like a novel idea for trash to disappear into the skies, the reality is that we are all living with it on Earth — some more than others.

Zhiyuan's larger-than-life tornado of plastic waste, which stands 36-feet high, represents the heaps of trash that overwhelm his hometown and its surrounding environment. The gigantic trash tower really puts the overbearing toll of the waste problem into perspective. It seems cool and colorful at first, but Zhiyuan has an underlying message to evoke a discussion by garnering attention to the problem. The artist says, “I want my art to be about something bigger than me. If it wasn’t involved in society I would feel guilty.”

Wang Zhiyuan website
via [Job's Wife]

Sea Chair Project harvests plastic from the oceans to create furniture

Posted in Gizmag.com  By August 20, 2012

Collecting plastic nurdles with the 'Nurdler'
Collecting plastic nurdles with the 'Nurdler'
Image Gallery (13 images) 
You may have heard about the huge floating islands of garbage swirling around in the middle of the Earth's oceans. Much of that waterlogged rubbish is made up of plastic and, like Electrolux with its concept vacuum cleaners, U.K.-based Studio Swine and Kieren Jones are looking to put that waste to good use. As part of an ambitious project, they’ve come up with a system to collect plastic debris and convert it into furniture.
The Sea Chair project hopes to create a win-win for the marine ecosystem and a fishing industry in crisis. Rather than collecting plastic that washes ashore or is snagged as by-catch in fishing nets, the team hopes to one day go where the trash is, collect and convert it to something useful while still at sea. Sea Chair envisions adapting fishing boats into floating chair factories that trawl for plastic and put it into production on-board.

Fishing vessels could be adapted to trawl for plastic.
Taking the notion of retro-fitting entire industries in its own image to an even more radical level, they also describe a future in which dormant oil rigs in the middle of the oceans are put to use for harvesting reserves of plastic trash that will eventually sink to the bottom of the sea.

While many of the Sea Chair project's grand ambitions for the fishing and petroleum industries still remain far off, it has managed some more humble innovations to collect and convert waste plastic into furniture.

The team created a contraption it dubbed the "Nurdler" to sort through tons of beached marine debris in search of pieces of micro-plastic called nurdles. Nurdles are pellet-like pieces of plastic about 4 mm (0.15 in) in diameter that wash into the sea from industrial facilities.

According to the Sea Chair website, nurdles have not yet been injection-molded, making them ideal for production. The Nurdler is a bit like the Sea Chair project's equivalent of panning for gold.
Plastic provides a colorful palette 
Plastic provides a colorful palette
The team also created a combination furnace and hydraulic press which can fit on a small fishing vessel to create chairs from collected nurdles and other plastics while still at sea – or wherever. The press can also be used to compress collected seaweed by-catch into briquettes that can then be burned to fuel the furnace for chair production.

The result of all this so far has been a pretty simple three-legged stool made up entirely of melted-down and re-purposed sea plastic. Each chair created is tagged with the
geographical coordinates of the location where the plastic it is made of was collected.
Finished Sea Chair

Finished Sea Chair

The first sea chairs popped up at the Furniture Fair in Milan earlier this year, but no information on future availability or pricing have been made public just yet.

Source: Studio Swine

Eugene Considers a Plastic Bag Ban

Posted in the Eugene Daily News on Sept. 17th, 2012

By Adam Chimeo for Eugene Daily News
 On September 17th, the Eugene City Council will meet to determine whether residents of Eugene are ready to ban the plastic bag.

On September 17th, the Eugene City Council will meet to determine whether residents of Eugene are ready to ban the plastic bag. The public hearing is a continuation of a discussion established during July’s hearing regarding the execution of the proposed ban. Though the majority of citizens seem to support the idea, the public hearings have managed to stir up heated debates as to whether we should follow the Portland or Corvallis method.

The Portland method
Portland has led the state in the movement to ban the bag. In an open letter to the citizens of Portland, Mayor Sam Adams addressed the impact of the plastic bag in Oregon:

“Growing up on the Oregon coast, I saw firsthand the devastating effects that discarded plastic has on our waterways and wildlife. In Portland, and in all of Oregon, single-use plastic checkout bags are an eyesore, getting into our waterways and our storm drains. Plastic bags are a nuisance, jamming up recycling facility machines and costing those facilities tens of thousands of dollars a month in maintenance and labor to fix the mess.”

Enacted October 1st, 2011, Portland’s plastic bag prohibition specifically targeted supermarkets with $2 million or more in gross annual sales and stores with pharmacies with at least 10,000 square feet of space. By focusing on larger stores like Target and Walmart, Mayor Adams hopes to drastically reduce the amount of trash throughout the city.

A survey conducted by Environment Oregon, a non-profit environmental advocacy group based in Portland, has recorded 8.5 million plastic bags eliminated from the waste stream per month. However, many Portlanders are claiming that the plastic ban has simply switched our dependence from plastic to paper. Sarah Higginbotham, Director of the Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center, says,
Protestors in Portland demonstrate against single-use plastic bags. 

Enacted October 1st, 2011, Portland’s plastic bag prohibition specifically targeted supermarkets with $2 million or more in gross annual sales.

“Although the current ban was a great start, it did not go far enough. Portland banned single-use plastic bags from major grocery stores and retailers, but a stricter bag ban is necessary to reduce more plastic bag consumption and to address the use of paper bags.”

The Corvallis method
Corvallis has also banned the single-use plastic bag, although their plan differs slightly from the Portland method. After a heated city council meeting that took place on July 3rd, the citizens of Corvallis added an amendment requiring businesses to impose a pass-through fee of five cents or more on grocery bags made of paper. This was done to motivate shoppers to make the switch to reusable bags.

Higginbotham hopes to enact a similar pass-through fee in her own city:

“Based on experiences in other cities, we know that paper bag usage will increase if there isn’t a disincentive placed on paper bags in addition to a ban on plastic bags. It has been shown that with a small fee on the use of paper bags, consumers shift significantly to reusable bags.”

Though alternative bagging options are becoming increasingly popular, a large majority of consumers still prefer the convenience of plastic. Sure, customers may be aware of the environmental damage of plastic bags when they go shopping, but without an extra push, most people will not go through the trouble of bringing multiple reusable bags from home. This happens no matter how menial the task may sound on paper.
Without an extra push, most people will not go through the trouble of bringing multiple reusable bags from home.

Andrew Roll is a fourth-year student at the University of Oregon. He is one of many people who worry about the environmental repercussions of a society running on plastic. Roll says,
“Bags are everywhere. When I go heavy-duty grocery shopping and forget my reusable bags at home I find myself with no other option but to go with the plastic.”

Many Eugenians are finding themselves in this exact situation at the grocery store. Roll continues, “And it’s not just the bags. It’s everything. Everything is wrapped in plastic. You can’t get away from it. I mean, I usually return my bags to the store every other month or so for recycling, but it feels like a drop in the bucket.”

Drop in the bucket, or drop in the ocean?
Proponents of the plastic bag ban have expressed concerns regarding the amount of trash in the ocean. The overabundance of plastic has led to an influx in marine litter. After a short while adrift, the plastic photodegrades into miniscule, microscopic pieces.  This photodegradation begins an environmentally devastating process in which small fish and other wildlife digest the harmful plastic, which in turn introduces it to the diet of the larger animals; thus creating a domino effect throughout the entire food chain.

A more visible representation of the ocean’s plastic woes is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: a gyre located in the central North Pacific Ocean contaminated with marine litter. Though the size of the garbage patch is still being debated, research sponsored by the National Science Foundation suggests that the affected area may be twice the size of Hawaii and its presence has awoken many to the notion of irreversible oceanic damage.

Higginbotham says that a plastic bag ban in Eugene can directly help counter marine litter:
The overabundance of plastic has led to an influx in marine litter.

“The City of Eugene estimates the public uses 67 million plastic bags a year. A bag ban in Eugene will allow the city to stand up for protecting Oregon’s coasts and the Pacific Ocean. In addition, plastic bags are an expensive nuisance for our co-mingled recycling centers in Oregon. Plastic is the most common type of marine debris worldwide, and comprises up to 90% of floating marine debris.”

Is Eugene ready to trash the plastic bag?
The idea has begun to pick up steam, though many are still debating how the proposed ban would be executed as well as whether a paper bag tax should be included. Unfortunately, banning plastic bags would not be enough to stop the whole problem. Next time you stroll through the grocery store, take note of how many items are wrapped in some sort of plastic container — or perhaps it would be easier to look for the things that are not.

Cities like Portland, Corvallis, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and as of recently, the entire state of Hawaii have all recognized the threat of plastic in our local ecosystems. There is also an enormous amount of oil, energy, and finances that go into the production of this convenience that could easily be avoided and then diverted to better causes.

So what will the future hold for Eugene? Paper? Plastic? Or something else?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Delhi Plastic Bags Ban Begins Next Week

Published in the Huffington Post September 12, 2012

NEW DELHI (AP) — The government of India's capital is hoping that a strict ban on plastic bags will help the environment.

An engineer with Delhi's government says that starting next week, the manufacture and sale of all types of plastic sheets and bags will be banned in the city, citing their environmental dangers.

B.M.S Reddy said Wednesday that the ban will include shopping bags, garbage bags and all kinds of plastic film and storage packets. Only plastic bags required for medical waste will be exempt.

In 2009, Delhi banned the use of plastic shopping bags, but authorities have had little success enforcing the ban.

Plastic bags also pose a risk to the thousands of cows that roam the city and end up swallowing them while foraging for food in Delhi's open garbage dumps.

Victory Veto on Illinois Bag Bill


August 26, 2012

After more than 170,000 people signed this petition, as well as a petition delivery to Governor Pat Quinn's Chicago office, the governor of Illinois vetoed a piece of legislation that would have prohibited towns in Illinois from enacting bans on single-use plastic bags. 


Here was her petition:

My name is Abby Goldberg, and as a 13-year-old girl who, after seeing the devastation that millions of plastic bags have caused the environment and ocean life, I made my school project this year to be getting a local ban on single-use plastic shopping bags in my home town Grayslake, IL.

My friends and I were making great progress, until the oil and chemical industry pulled a dirty trick to kill my campaign; these lobbyists used the politicians that they bought to pass a bill that would make it illegal for towns across Illinois to create plastic bag bans!  Even worse, they’re trying to make it look like a green environmental bill, by putting in a few ridiculously-low requirements for so-called “recycling” of plastic bags, and are bragging they’re going to make it "a model bill for all states!”

Now it’s in the hands of our Governor to stop them with a veto, but he needs to hear from all of us!

I am heartbroken and so angry, because kids and adults like me are standing up to Big Oil and Big Plastic by creating bans everywhere, including in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Seattle, Toronto, Austin, Mexico City, Mumbai, Italy, Rwanda and more! Why? Because bag bans can be literally 2000% more effective than “bring your own bag” campaigns!

I am not scared – even though I’m just a kid, I care too much about animals, our environment, and our future natural resources to let them beat down my town, just so they can make an extra buck. Now I need your help to stop them, and give hope to other people around the world that they can stand up for their own rights!

The governor could sign at any minute, so we need your voice as soon as possible, or my dream of getting a healthier environment for my town, our environment and our world will be totally crushed.

Thank you!!

 Governor Quinn: Don't Let Big Plastic Bully Me!