Plastic is poisoning our waters, and our marine life is suffering.

In 2012, a Guadalupe fur seal was found dead on the Washington coast with an 8-inch piece of plastic in its stomach.

The devastating impacts of our reliance on plastic is felt by marine animals globally. A new report from Oceana reveals nearly 1,800 marine mammals and sea turtles swallowed or became entangled in plastic on U.S. coastlines since 2009. Of those, 88% were from species endangered or threatened with extinction under the Endangered Species Act.

Ingesting even one piece can result in death; 90% of the cases in the report involved animals consuming plastic. If we want a healthy ecosystem for our salmon and orcas, we must end our reliance on single-use plastics.

It’s time to stop the flow of this material, built to last forever but often only used a few moments, into our waters. To do so, we must pass policies stopping plastic producers from making this harmful product at an ever-increasing rate.

Encourage your local city council to ban unnecessary single-use plastics and urge your representative in Congress to co-sponsor the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.

Sara Papanikolaou, Woodinville, campaign organizer, Oceana