How big of a problem do plastic shopping bags pose to the environment?
Since the elected supervisors of Los Angeles' City Council recently voted to ban plastic shopping bags at the city's retailers, largely in response to "clean-water" advocates, who argue that the bags "pollute the ocean and the city's waterways", we thought we'd get a sense of just how big that problem really is.
Our chart below presents the answer, which refers to data that those who support bans on plastic shopping bags frequently cite in advancing their agenda:
The values shown in the chart above were originally reported in 2004. There are a number of points to note about the results for the first-ever worldwide cleanup of the coastal areas of the United States and 100 other countries:
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