We know plastic bags are terrible for the environment: They pollute our oceans and beaches, harm wildlife, and contribute to the Pacific Garbage Patch — that toxic soup of trash swirling off our coast that’s grown to be twice the size of Texas.
So why does California’s new environmental curriculum include a section on “The Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags”?Because lobbyists for the American Chemistry Council — the same front-group that spent millions to defeat the statewide bag ban last year — convinced school officials to include it. 
What’s next? A lesson on the benefits of mercury in our diet?
According to the article in the Chronicle, parts of the textbook “were inserted almost verbatim from letters written by the chemistry council. The additions included: ‘Plastic shopping bags are very convenient to use. They take less energy to manufacture than paper bags, cost less to transport, and can be reused.’ ”
It’s no surprise that plastic-bag makers want to convince the next generation of Californians that their product is “eco-friendly.” But it’s the resposibility of school officials to make sure they get the facts:
- The Pacific Garbage Patch — a toxic soup of swirling trash off our coast — has grown to be twice the size of Texas. In this zone, plastic outnumbers plankton by as much as 6:1.
- Scientists are increasingly concerned about the toll plastic pollution takes on wildlife, who can choke, suffocate or starve to death if their stomachs become filled with plastic
- While plastic breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, scientists believe it may never biodegrade.
Please, tell Gov. Brown to make sure plastic-industry propaganda is removed from kids’ textbooks immediately.
Thanks for standing up for our ocean,
Environment California Legislative Director