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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

View from the Dune by Steve Zmak, July 15, 2014

Sea Otter
This sea otter freed himself quickly from this dangerous plastic bag in Monterey Bay. Other sea life may not be so fortunate. Help Ventana Chapter ban these bags now! (Photographer: Steve Zmak).

HEART-BREAKING SCENE—I was reminded by the importance of banning single- use plastic bags as I watched this otter in the Monterey Harbor twist, twirl and splash about while trying to get this plastic bag off its head. Single-use plastic causes great suffering and death among sea life, even in such a protected area as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. If you’ve ever attended a local coastal clean-up, you know the vast amount of pollution washing up on our beaches includes large quantities of single-use plastic bags and single-use polystyrene packaging. Even though several of our coastal cities have passed bans such as Monterey and Carmel, and several more are planning on signing onto a Monterey County ban such as Marina, unless all communities ban it, this hazard will continue to find its way into our treasured ocean. While this otter eventually set himself free with much applause by helpless onlookers, you can help ensure an end to episodes like this by urging the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to pass the Reusable Bag Ordinance at their meeting on July 29. Please email your comments to the County Clerk of the Board, .

Ventana Chapter member Steve Zmak is a commercial advertising and fine art photographer based in Marina, California, available for assignments, projects and workshops: .