Love Shark Week? Why Disposable Bags and Sharks Don’t Mix
The Ferocious Predator That Kills Sharks
Sharks are awesome and we have enjoyed watching along with all of you during Shark Week on Discovery Channel. These majestic animals rule the oceans and it’s stunning to watch them in their element. Unfortunately, sharks are not safe in the waters they know as home and it’s not some ferocious predator that’s the culprit – its litter, primarily single use disposable plastic bags that have the potential to cause serious problems and even death for sharks.
The Litter Epidemic That is More Than a Nuisance
Some litter is simply the result of careless people tossing trash on the ground but the flimsy, lightweight construction of disposable plastic bags make them likely to be lifted from garbage cans, recycling bins or even landfills by a strong gust of wind and carried off.
Once airborne, bag litter will continue to travel until it gets stuck in a shrub or tree or until it floats down and is deposited in a body of water. The water weighs the disposable bag down further and further until it sinks below the surface. The disposable bag was a nuisance and a hazard before, but now it is incredibly dangerous to sharks and all aquatic animals.
Plastic Bags Can Be Mistaken for Food by Sharks
When submerged a disposable bag kind of resembles a jellyfish, enough so that a predator can easily make a blunder and eat the plastic bag thinking it’s about to get a meal. This simple mistake can have dire consequences. The plastic will not break down in the shark’s digestive system the way food does and the bag can become tangled and lead to an untimely and painful death.
All Tangled Up
Floating disposable bag litter can also be a hazard if a marine animal is to swim near or through it and becomes entangled. The animal may be unable to free themselves from the bag and, depending on where and how severe the entanglement, they may be unable to eat and protect themselves and their young.
Join With Us Beyond Shark Week to Protect Our Majestic Aquatic Friends
Litter in our oceans is a major problem that threatens sharks and all of the other animals that live in the oceans. Cleaning up the mess will require a massive undertaking, and the best thing to do at this point is to try to contain the problem and prevent it from growing even larger and more unwieldy.
Be cognizant of how you dispose of trash, recycle everything that can be recycled and if you see a stray plastic bag tumbling down the street or stuck in your neighbor’s hedges grab it and recycle it.
If you are a consumer, make the commitment to begin using reusable bags and consider starting a bag ban. If you are a business, brand or retailer, you can join with us to protect sharks and their aquatic friends by creating your own custom reusable bags. Click HERE to check out our selection of reusable bags and please share this article with all of your friends on social media and when you mention Shark Week, mention the work we can all do to do our part to save the sharks.
- www.stevedeneef.photoshelter.com (whale shark and plastic bag)