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SeaWorld Bags Use Of Plastic Bags This Summer

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In an effort to reduce ocean pollution, SeaWorld in San Diego will stop giving out plastic bags at its theme-park gift stores on June 18. Park reps said "the move could save more than 1 million plastic bags from being used. They will offer customers paper and reusable sacks," reports the San Diego Union Tribune.

The ban coincides with the opening of SeaWorld's Turtle Reef, a new attraction with a focus on ecological responsibility. Notes the San Diego Union Tribune, "plastic bags can be a major problem for some types of sea turtles, especially leatherbacks, that mistake them for jellyfish."

Turtle Reef will feature more than 60 threatened and endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles, including some that hatched at the marine-life park in 2009. One aquarium at the Turtle Reef gift shop will have floating bags and another will have jellyfish to provide a visual display of how similar they can look in the water.

Based on statewide data for 2009, only 3 percent of all plastic carryout bags were recycled, leaving "more than 51,000 tons of them to collect in landfills, beaches and parking lots," reports the San Diego Union Tribune.