Baykeeper Update

More Plastic than Fish?

Trash on boat

By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world's waters… unless we act now to change how people use and dispose of plastic products.

San Francisco Bay is already suffering from an onslaught of plastic pollution. Baykeeper has documented large volumes of plastic trash, as well as micro- and nanoplastics, throughout the Bay and its tributaries.

Waterborne plastic is toxic. It can carry mercury, transmit chemicals and bacteria, and spread invasive species that use plastic shards as rafts to travel long distances. Hungry animals who mistake the trash for food are attracted to large pieces of plastic, and tiny microplastics accumulate in the tissue of fish and wildlife. Plastic trash is cluttering the ocean and Bay, as well as creeks, shorelines, and neighborhoods—and it will take generations to break down—if it ever breaks down.  

That’s why Baykeeper has multiple campaigns to stop trash pollution at the source.  Our trash advocacy includes supporting new legislation to reduce plastic waste. AB 1080 and SB 54 would require that single-use packaging be reduced by 75%, by 2030, and that all single-use packaging that remains be recyclable or compostable. These bills are currently wending their way through the State legislature.

Another bill aimed at reducing single-use plastic waste, AB 619, was recently signed by Governor Newsom.  This new law means that Californians can take their own clean, reusable containers to restaurants and coffee shops for their leftovers, to go orders, and morning cup of joe.

These actions are important steps toward stopping the deluge of plastic pollution in the Bay and around the world.

What’s another important action you can take to address plastic pollution? Join a cleanup to get trash off of our shorelines before it reaches the water! International Coastal Cleanup Day is around the corner on Saturday, September 21. Save the date to join Baykeeper for a cleanup in San Francisco.

Pictured above: trash collected from the Bay aboard the Baykeeper boat, including single-use plastic bottles and packaging.