Site news

Date added: Feb 12, 2015 Plastic Bags - the Lunch for animals

A Google search on “animals eat plastic bags” brings up hundreds of heartbreaking stories and images from around the world. So many foraging cows in India have died from ingesting plastic bag litter that many of the states in that country have banned the distribution of plastic bags. In the United Arab Emirates, a veterinarian has documented images of camels, sheep, goats, and endangered desert animals dead from eating plastic bags. Whales wash up on our coasts, their bellies full of plastic. And endangered leatherback sea turtles mistake floating plastic bags for the jellyfish that are their main diet, ingesting the plastic that can then block their digestive tracts. In fact, a recent study of leatherback turtle autopsy records found plastic in one-third of the animals’ GI tracts, plastic bags being the most common item mentioned.

While a lot of figures have been thrown around in the media, hard numbers are difficult to calculate, and the sad fact is that when most sea animals eat plastic and die, they sink to the bottom, unaccounted for. But possibly more significant than the individual animals that are killed by eating plastic are those that are affected indirectly. For example, when sea turtles eat plastic instead of food, their glucose levels drop, leaving them with less energy for migration and reproduction. Females can’t lay as many eggs, and fewer new sea turtles are born. “When you connect the dots,”  “you realize that plastic pollution may cost millions of potential sea turtle lives.” 

 

Comments

No posts found