Environmental purity, not common sense, motivates the Golden State’s ban on bags, drinking straws, and cutlery.
Shoppers flaunt their reusable bags (whichmight carry disease), big business parades its green credentials, and lawmakers seek the approval of likeminded thinkers by enacting bans.
The Great Pacific GarbagePatchhas become a rallying point for environmentalists, but it’s made up mostly of lost fishing gear, “notplastic bottles or packaging,”National Geographicreports.
But domestic bans can do little to reverse the buildup of plastic in the environment. Almost none of the plastic in the oceans comes from California. Ananalysisby Germany’s Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research found that roughly 90 percent of ocean plastic enters the ocean via ten rivers—eight in Asia and two in Africa. Onlyabout 1 percentof all plastic in the oceans is from the U.S.; California’s “contribution” to the mess is negligible.
As for plastic-bag pollution, Steven Stein, principal of Environmental Resources Planning, foundthat such bags make up only.04 percent of visible litter in San Jose and .06 percent in San Francisco—close enough to zero that no one would notice the improvement if those figures were, say, cut in half.