Bob Schoelkopf Talks Marine Mammals & Plastic Bags in Brigantine

Brigantine is talking: Convenient, yet harmful single-use plastic bags. Mayor Guenther suggests that plastic bag laws could hurt business. The ACME may be forced to leave town if a symbolic 10 cent fee is charged for each plastic bag. We kid you not. That’s what our Mayor implied. Listen here >

But what about sharks, whales, turtles and seagulls? What do they think about single-use plastic bags? Maybe we need to consider how coastal marine wildlife is affected…and not just corporate retailers and politicians.

Insane. After weeks of council debate, the Brigantine Green Team still didn’t call on the #1 expert in assisting local sea life: Bob Schoelkopf of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.

Brigantine MMSC

Human activity can harm marine mammals in multiple ways. But those lighter-than-air plastic bags can be extra nasty to a seal or turtle. These bags easily find their way into our oceans where they’re often mistaken for food. Wildlife can get tangled in this floating plastic refuse as well.

Bob Schoelkopf commented on a recent BrigantineNOW post about this issue. We wanted to share it with our readers. We also want to encourage support of the MMSC in Brigantine. They do God’s work.

Protecting Marine Life in Brigantine. Single-Use Plastic Bag Battle.

Schoelkopf : Over the years we have found plastic in a variety of marine mammals and sea turtles. Not all plastics had writing on them to indicate where they came from. One of the solutions that we have come up with is to provide our customers reusable bags with our imprinted logo on it, or they may opt for a paper bag, or better yet- NO BAG.

We have not used plastic bags in our museum for over 15 years. Merchants in Brigantine could do the same using their logo and a caption to promote their store and let people know they are trying to protect the environment. This way the bag becomes a souvenir to our summer visitors.

Environmental Impact: 4×4’s & Brigantine Beach

Schoelkopf: As far as the 4×4 issue- as the original 4 wheel drive inspector in Brigantine, my job was to enforce safe speed of the vehicles and proper driving habits. I made people aware that they are sharing the beach with endangered nesting shore birds, nesting turtles, seals and other wildlife.

I think the City should include these various animals that occupy the beach in their Rules and Regulations for 4-Wheel Drive vehicles, along with phone numbers for appropriate agencies when they spot an injured animal.

Donate to the MMSC

Paper or plastic? A common phrase heard at a Brigantine retail store. Neither, we replied. I’ll just grab the 3 items and go.

The Surfrider Organization of South Jersey, after success in Longport, is now targeting Brigantine for heightened awareness. They are assisting the Brigantine Green Team’s effort to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic bags. 

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