Frustrated with the sight of plastic bags and styrofoam containers piling up in its harbor, the city of Charleston, South Carolina, rang in the new year with a promise to start enforcing a ban on single-use plastic containers and utensils.

It’s one of hundreds of similar bans that have been launched across the U.S. and Europe, amid a growing backlash to an industry that is expanding despite increasing evidence of the harm its products can do.

In just the past year, researchers have shown that tiny particles of plastic are pervasive in the environment, even high in the mountains and inside human bodies. Dead whales have washed up with dozens of pounds of plastic waste in their stomachs. And a new awareness of the role the plastics industry plays in climate change is emerging.

“If it’s in our marshes, it’s in our oysters, it’s in our fish and it’s in our dolphins,” said Caroline Bradner, the Land, Water & Wildlife Project Manager for the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. “And if there is plastic in them, there is plastic in us.”

Read more at Inside Climate News