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velkr0 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Texas Supreme Court Rules Cities Cannot Ban Plastic Bags

The Texas Supreme Court struck down the city of Laredo's plastic bag ban—a decision that will likely overturn similar bans in about a dozen other cities, including Austin, Fort Stockton and Port Aransas.

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Kai Schreiber / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

SeaWorld, American Express, Fast Food Chains to Curb Single-Use Plastics

Momentum is building in the war against single-use plastics. In the past week, a slew of major companies—including SeaWorld parks, American Express, cruise company Royal Caribbean, IKEA, A&W Canada and Burger King UK—have pledged to eliminate items such as plastic drinking straws, stirrers, lids and bags in efforts to protect our oceans and their inhabitants.

SeaWorld Entertainment announced Thursday, right before World Oceans Day, that all 12 of its theme parks have removed all single-use plastic drinking straws and shopping bags.

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Plastic bags pollute the Crocodile River in South Africa. JMK / GNU Free Documentation License

UN Launches First-Ever Global Plastics Report on World Environment Day

The theme for this year's World Environment Day, the world's largest environmental celebration which takes place June 5, is "Beat Plastic Pollution." In honor of the occasion, UN Environment released the first ever "state of plastics" report, tracking government action against plastic waste, a UN Environment press release reported.

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Animals

Whale's Tragic Death by Plastic Bags a Reminder of a Global Crisis

A pilot whale died in southern Thailand last week after swallowing 17 pounds of plastic waste, despite a five-day effort to save the animal's life.

A necropsy revealed that the plastic debris, which included 80 plastic bags, clogged the whale's stomach, Reuters reported.

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Oceans

Chile to Become First Country in the Americas to Ban Plastic Bags

Chile is set to become the first country in the Americas to ban plastic bags to help protect the environment and especially the ocean.

Congress unanimously approved the measure on Wednesday. The bill was initially designed to outlaw plastic bags in Patagonia, but was later extended nationwide.

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Oceans
At least 700,000 tons of abandoned fishing gear enter the oceans each year. Pixabay

EU Moves to Ban 10 Most Harmful Single-Use Plastics

In an ambitious effort to stop ocean pollution, the European Commission on Monday proposed banning the 10 most common single-use plastic products as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear.

The European Union's executive arm targeted the products that are most often found on the continent's beaches and seas, which together account for 70 percent of its marine litter.

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Taz / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

5 Reasons the World Wastes So Much Stuff (and Why It's Not Just the Consumer's Fault)

By Mathy Stanislaus

If you need motivation to skip the straw at lunch today, consider this: Scientists found that even Arctic sea ice—far removed from most major metropolitan areas—is no longer plastic-free. According to Dr. Jeremy Wilkinson of the British Antarctic Survey, "this suggests that microplastics are now ubiquitous within the surface waters of the world's ocean. Nowhere is immune."

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Sperm whale. Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

40-Ton Sperm Whales Killed by Plastic Bags in Mediterranean

More than a third of the sperm whales found dead in the eastern Mediterranean since 2001 were killed by plastic debris, researchers from the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute in Athens found.

Necropsies on nine of the 24 dead whales found in Greek waters revealed that their stomachs were filled with large amounts of plastic, The Times reported on the Pelagos analysis.

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Dean Hochman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

San Francisco Lawmakers Propose Bill Banning Plastic Straws

The growing movement to stamp out plastic straws is spreading to San Francisco.

Supervisors Katy Tang and Ahsha Safai plan to unveil on Tuesday legislation that prohibits restaurants, bars and coffee shops from serving plastic straws, stirrers or cocktail sticks with beverages, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Instead of the disposable items, the lawmakers suggested businesses hand out compostable or reusable alternatives.

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