Aug 2, 2007 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

Check out this video:
…and the other videos on this site.

This site goes along with a BBC documentary (which aired on Animal Planet) that showed one horrible effect from all the plastic we use. Most of it turns up in the ocean and on the shores of Hawaii, ruining beaches and killing animals, most notably albatrosses, who die of starvation and dehydration because the plastics they accidentally eat take up too much room in their stomachs. Albatrosses are trained to eat anything that floats in the water and unfortunately, this now includes plastics. On the documentary one biologist gathered all the plastic items that were found in dead albatrosses on an island of Hawaii. The types of plastic items that these birds consumed included hundreds of cigarette lighters, parts of dolls, small toy guns and cars, golf balls, toothbrushes and more. Everyone contributes to the death of these birds, and the only way to help preserve this species and Hawaii beaches is to limit our use of plastics.

This documentary focused on Hawaii only, but this is just one isolated example of the problems of plastics. Some useful (and surprising) statistics:

About four-fifths of marine trash comes from land, swept by wind or washed by rain off highways and city streets, down streams and rivers, and out to sea. Nearly 90% of floating marine litter is plastic. -BBC documentary

An average of 46,000 pieces of plastic debris floating on or near the surface of every square mile of ocean. – UN Environmental Program report, 2006

At least 267 marine species are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of marine debris. An estimated 1 million seabirds choke or get tangled in plastic nets or other debris every year. – report “Plastic Debris in the World’s Oceans” by Greenpeace

From the BBC:
The world uses over 1.2 trillion plastic bags a year. That averages about 300 bags for each adult on the planet. That comes out to over one million bags being used per minute.

On average we use each plastic bag for approximately 12 minutes before disposing. It then lasts in the environment for decades.

47% of wind borne litter escaping from landfills is plastic. Much of this is plastic bags. In the marine environment plastic bag litter is lethal, killing at least 100,000 birds, whales, seals and turtles every year. After an animal is killed by plastic bags, its body decomposes and the plastic is released back into the environment.

A Bryde’s whale died on a beach in Cairns, Australia after ingesting 6 square metres of plastic – including plastic bags.

If you think there is no point in developed nations stopping the use of disposable plastic bags because the world’s developing nations will never follow check out the following list of states that have banned or taken action to discourage the use of plastic bags:
Australia, Bangladesh, Ireland, Italy, Taiwan, Mumbai, Scotland, France, West Bengal, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Switzerland, Rwanda, Denmark, Germany, South Africa, California, Somalia, Botswana, Phillipines.

Plastic bags, as with all forms of plastic, do not biodegrade. They photodegrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil, waterways, oceans and entering the food web when ingested by animals.

Another video to check out about our trash:

Bottom line: quit using so much plastic. Refill water bottles with filtered water, use paper at grocery stores, if you don’t need a bag say so!


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