A Lethal Dose of Plastic

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 9:04 PM

Most people have heard of plastic bags killing marine life, or seen pictures of a bird with a chunk of plastic stuck around its beak. I know that it happens and I hear about it every once in a while, but I never knew the extent to which rogue plastic bags affected wildlife. I looked at a site, plasticbageconomics.com, that shows the staggering amount of plastic bags that are afloat in the ocean and how they are killing an array of animals.

For instance, I was shocked to see that, "In every square mile of ocean there are over 46,000 pieces of plastic". Endangered turtles will mistake bags for jellyfish, eat them, and suffocate from them. In addition, about 100,000 birds, whales, and seals die every year from plastic bags. This is an alarming amount of deaths that are 100% preventable. All the more reason for consumers to recycle their plastic bags, or to choose reusable cloth bags instead when they go shopping.

In addition to killing animals, plastic bags are doing a great amount of damage to live coral reefs. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the great wonders of the world, and is deteriorating because of deadly plastic bags wrapping themselves around the coral and killing it. There are so many consequences to littering and choosing not to recycle used grocery bags. By recycling plastic bags, we can collectively save 100,000 animal lives per year. It is a small step to maintaining life and a healthy environment.

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