Seabirds and Plastic Bags Never Mix

California could soon become a leader in the fight against single-use plastic bags that have literally choked wildlife habitats throughout the world, as National Resources Defense Council staff attorney Leila Monroe noted in an op-ed today on HuffPost Green.

Each year, Californians use an estimated 12 billion such bags, which account for as much as 25% of the litter stream in state waterways such as the Los Angeles River.

A bill to ban single-use plastic bags — and support emerging businesses that produce biodegradable/reusable bags — is currently before a state senate committee. (Lawmakers adjourn on Friday.)

Plastic bags and seabirds never mix. Recently, International Bird Rescue volunteer videographer Jeff Robinson documented rehab work on a California Gull with the remnants of an “Open 24 Hours” plastic bag wrapped tightly around its neck.

A devoted volunteer retrieved the bird near our San Francisco Bay Area wildlife care center, where it is currently being treated. Watch its progress below:

Update: This Gull has been successfully rehabilitated and released. International Bird Rescue videographer Jeff Robinson has full video of its progress here.