How Do Plastic Bags Hurt Wildlife?
Understanding Why Plastic Bag Bans Matter for Wildlife
Many of the plastic bag bans passed are done so due to environmental concern. Plastic bags can be detrimental to animals and their habitats. In the past, we have covered how plastic pollution hurts wildlife. Recently we came across a video that really illustrates how plastic bags and other plastic pollution are hurting wildlife. The video is disturbing to watch for many reasons but it video helps to underscore the importance of plastic bag bans.
How Plastic Becomes Litter
One of the traits that makes plastic such a useful material is its durability. Plastic is waterproof and it can be used to make just about anything. These advantages also turn out to be the downfall of plastic. The durability that makes plastic so great also means that if plastic items are discarded as litter they stick around.
Anything can become litter if it is discarded, but disposable plastic bags are more likely to become litter. Even if plastic bags are tossed in a recycling bin or garbage can all it takes is a strong breeze to lift the bag from an outdoor bin, truck or landfill. Once that happens the bag will be carried away until it touches down in a tree or shrub and becomes tangled, or if it is dropped in the water and is weighed down.
Ramifications of Litter
Litter can be a dangerous addition to an ecosystem. Animals can become stuck in trash and this can inhibit their ability to care for and defend themselves. All too often, animals may consume litter. If ingested, plastic litter can block the animal’s digestive system and lead to death.
Animals eating plastic litter becomes a bigger problem as predators consume prey and the food chain plays out. Animals that did not directly eat plastic now may face the consequences of ingesting plastic litter. As can be seen in the video there is so much plastic trash in some areas of the ocean animals can easily become caught up and eat the litter.
What You Can Do to Help
The plastic litter problem is very big and extremely complicated, but the solutions are surprisingly simple. By stopping the problem at the source, we can significantly reduce the amount of trash introduced into the environment.
Make the switch from disposable items, like grocery bags and water bottles to durable and reusable alternatives. Reusable bags, water bottles, mugs and more provide the same convenience as disposable plastic items, but without the resulting trash. You can also help clean up litter either in your neighborhood as you see it or sign up for larger scale cleanup initiatives.
Many communities have taken to passing plastic bag bans as a means to reduce litter. Bans are effective, but getting a bag ban in place takes some work. Learn more about how to pass plastic bag ban in your hometown. You can also make a statement with your brand. Reusable gear makes excellent promotional products that reduce the environmental impact of your brand and make it easy for your customers to reduce the amount of trash they generate.
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