Plastic bags litter our roadways, lakes and creeks, contaminate Puget Sound, and harm Washington’s wildlife. Animals can ingest these bags, choke on them, or be exposed to toxic chemicals carried on the plastic.
Voluntary efforts, including recycling programs, have proved insufficient to prevent plastic pollution. In fact, plastic bags actually cause problems for Washington’s recycling industry. When plastic bags are part of mixed recyclables, they get caught in machinery, shutting down recycling operations. Responding to an Environment Washington Research & Policy Center survey, 70 percent of Washington recycling companies want plastic bags out of the waste stream.
There is a simple solution: Cities in Washington, and the state as a whole, can ban single-use plastic bags.
Puget Sound is threatened by plastic pollution. Plastic trash persists for hundreds of years and can kill or harm whales, turtles, seabirds and other marine animals. Single use plastic bags are a significant part of the problem. To reduce ocean pollution and protect the environment, dozens of national and local governments across the planet have taken official action to reduce or eliminate single use plastic bags. State and local governments in Washington should follow their lead and ban the use of plastic grocery bags.
The agribusiness lobby is well known as one of the most powerful in Washington, D.C., and many states. Less well known is the fact that big agribusiness interests are among the largest roadblocks to cleaner water for the American people.
Big agribusiness corporations have invested millions of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbying to defend agricultural practices that pollute America’s rivers, lakes and ocean waters and to defeat common-sense measures to clean up our waterways. Over the past decade, just 10 agribusiness corporations or groups gave more than $35 million in campaign contributions to congressional candidates.
Our dependence on oil and coal-fired power plants has broad detrimental impacts on our health and our environment. Power plants represent America’s single biggest source of air pollution, affecting our waterways, destroying ecosystems, and polluting the air we breathe. Pollution from coal-fired power plants in particular contributes to four of the five leading causes of mortality in the United States: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic respiratory diseases. This report looks at the health and environmental impacts of mercury pollution from power plants.
Environment Washington Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.