A Movie Of Wild Animals From China That Grow Up The Effect Plastic Bags Have on the Death of Wildlife

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The Effect Plastic Bags Have on the Death of Wildlife

Doing something as simple as using reusable shopping bags can save the earth’s wildlife. Devastating numbers of turtles, birds, whales and other animals are killed every year due to plastic bags being mistaken for food like jellyfish. Once a plastic bag is swallowed by an animal, it cannot be digested, so it sits in the animal’s gut, preventing other food from being digested and resulting in an extremely painful and slow death.

A plastic bag can literally take 1,000 years to break down, so after an animal dies from eating the plastic and its body breaks down, the plastic is left behind and can be ingested by another animal.

Turtle Food

Approximately 40 percent of autopsies performed on turtles confirm death due to plastic bags stuck in their intestinal tracts. When plastic bags float in water, they look very similar to jellyfish, which is a favorite food source for some turtles. These deaths could be prevented if everyone would simply use reusable grocery bags every time they go to the store.

A turtle in 2007 was found to have more than 50 items in its intestinal tract, including nylon rope, plastic bags, cling film, balloons and candy wrappers. The less plastic enters the environment, the safer wildlife will be.

The shameful seas

A Bryde’s whale that stranded and died on a Cairns beach in August 2000 was autopsied to reveal 20 square meters of tightly packed plastic, mostly shopping bags, lodged in its stomach. So many whales like this die in the ocean where the plastic is eventually exposed back into the water for other sea creatures to feed on, creating a vicious cycle.

It is estimated that over 100,000 sea creatures are killed each year due to plastic pollution. These animals are not dying immediately, but they are suffering. Imagine not being able to digest any food and then not being able to eat because of it and literally just starving because of plastic bags and other plastic products. Every time consumers go to the store they make a conscious decision whether or not to use a reusable shopping bag. It is not understandable why anyone would still choose to use traditional bags, knowing the harm they are creating.

Changes coming?

It is not uncommon to find flamingos, platypus and other animals suffocated by being entangled in plastic bags and unable to get out. In Australia in 2008, a crocodile was found dead with 25 plastic bags in its stomach. In addition, pelicans, seagulls and other birds are found every day with the same cause of death.

Due to these numbers and other environmental concerns, many countries such as Bangladesh, Taiwan, China and Italy have either banned plastic bags entirely or enacted laws to pay for them, making reusable bags the primary choice.

Sadly, in the United States, the plastics industries rally hard to resist potential laws or bans, claiming that jobs will disappear. It is estimated that Americans throw away a minimum of 100 billion bags per year. However, some cities are taking their own approach. Places like New York City are talking about imposing a six-cent tax on plastic bags distributed. Many stores already offer small incentives to consumers who bring their eco-friendly bags with them when they shop.

Small changes are happening, but you shouldn’t expect city taxes or state laws to make a difference. Stop using plastic bags today to save tomorrow’s animals.

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