“The tIme to take action to reduce single-use plastics is now”
Olympia, WA – Today, the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee passed the Reusable Bag Bill, SB 5323, which will reduce plastic pollution in Washington by banning single-use plastic bags. Following is the statement of Environment Washington Director Bruce Speight:
“Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our oceans and rivers and threaten wildlife for centuries. We thank Sen. Mona Das for sponsoring this important piece of legislation and the Senators on the committee who voted in support of this bill for recognizing that the time to take action to reduce single-use plastics is now.
Plastic has been documented in hundreds of species of marine life, including gray whales found washed up on the shores of the Salish Sea, 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species. Ingesting these fragments is often fatal. Toxic chemicals in plastic can harm animals’ health—and people can ingest these chemicals as they make their way up the food chain.
The state of California banned single-use plastic bags in 2016. According to the Seattle Times, ‘In California, plastic bags accounted for more than 7.4 percent of litter collected on beaches during the state’s 2010 Coastal Cleanup Day. That number dropped to 3.1 percent in 2017, down from 3.4 percent in 2016.’
This bill is a great step in the right direction as we work to protect our oceans, rivers, lands and wildlife from plastic pollution. Let’s choose wildlife over waste.”
A companion bill has been introduced in the House, HB 1205, and will be taken up for a vote on have a hearing in House Energy and Environment Committee on Thursday, February 7.
Environment Washington is a statewide, membership-based environmental advocacy organization. www.environmentwashington.org.