Every year, the world produces almost 420 million tons of plastic — the mass of two-thirds of the entire human population (source). The majority of this is single-use plastics, and when thrown out, they don’t disappear. They break into smaller pieces and get just about everywhere.
Plastic is hazardous to marine life in many ways: ingestion, strangulation, potential toxicity, habitat degradation, and bioaccumulation. It’s entering the human food chain as well. Plastic pollution has been found everywhere from beer and table salt, to Arctic air and tropical baby fish (who sometimes eat plastic as their first meal)
How we combat plastic pollution in the Salish Sea
RE Sources and volunteers work to curb plastic pollution at every level — from cleaning local beaches to rallying community members on the Capitol steps in Olympia:
- We advocate for and mobilize the public to push legislators to pass bold policies that limit plastic waste at the local, statewide, and national levels. Most recently, we urged the Washington State Legislature to pass bills that reduce plastic pollution, like a 2019 law setting targets to reduce packaging in products and the waste stream (SB 5397),
- We host community beach (and sometimes river or lake) cleanups! Find an upcoming one on our Events page,
- We train citizen scientists to monitor the health of shoreline wildlife,
- Our North Sound Baykeeper team goes on regular pollution patrols. Trash, especially plastic, is one of the most common sources of pollution our team finds in our local waterways,