Target: Texas State Governor Rick Perry
Goal: Help protect marine life by banning plastic bags in Texas
We face many complex challenges when it comes to keeping our oceans and beaches healthy and safe, but one of the major contributors to the problem is an abundance of plastic bags. It takes centuries for plastic bags to break down in a marine environment. Ocean animals like turtles and sea birds are injured or killed when they become helplessly entangled in plastic bags, or when they swallow these unfamiliar objects after mistaking them for a food source. The diverse wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, are finding life in the water more hazardous than ever because of plastic bags.
Sea turtles sometimes like to prey upon jellyfish. What does a plastic bag look like when it’s floating in water? You guessed it: a jellyfish. All seven species and one subspecies of sea turtles are all listed as endangered or threatened. Plastic bags may cause deadly entanglement by ensnaring animals in loops and openings in the plastic. For example, some sharks must keep swimming in order to breathe; but what if one of these apex predators becomes entangled in a plastic bag? It will no longer be able to swim and will sink to the bottom, effectively drowning.
In Texas, ecotourism generates a wealth of income to help build and sustain the state’s economy. We have dolphin watch cruises, snorkeling, and diving. The beaches themselves, with their miles of sand and shells, are hot-spots for tourists. Would you want to go to a beach that is covered in plastic bags and trash? Absolutely not, and neither would anyone else. Help make the great state of Texas better by banning the use of plastic bags.
Dear Governor Perry,
The animal inhabitants of the Gulf of Mexico are in very serious danger due to our over-use of plastic bags. Plastic bags are polluting our local waters and endangering local marine organisms. Because of their chemical makeup, plastic bags have the ability to plague the Gulf for centuries. In Texas, we have direct access to wild marine organisms. With this great privilege, we have a greater responsibility to protect our local marine animals so that generations to come will be able to enjoy them. Our local marine life is being subjected to ingestion, entanglement and smothering by plastic bags. Ingestion of plastic bags causes many deaths while entanglement may result in loss of limbs, vulnerability to predators, and the disruption of feeding or mating.
What can we do to conserve our marine life? Let’s start with banning plastic bags. The fewer plastic bags we use, the smaller the number that will end up in our oceans and affect these magnificent animals. Banning plastic bags would not only help protect our local marine life, but it would positively affect ecotourism. For vacation hot-spots such as Padre Island and Galveston, it would be in our best interest as an economy to protect our marine life because tourists will come from all over the world to go on a dolphin watching cruise, dive with sharks, or see wild sea turtles.
Currently, there are nine ordinances covering nine municipalities that have banned plastic bags in Texas. While this is a great start, it is time to expand the ban to the entire state. We, the undersigned, demand the banning of plastic bags in the state of Texas in order to protect our local marine life, beaches, and economy.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Integrated Environmental Solutions via greatecology