Plastic bags in water look just like jellyfish – a turtle’s favourite food. Plastic is killing marine life at an alarming rate. Humans are not immune to this threat: While plastics are estimated to take up to hundreds of years to fully decompose, some of them break down much quicker into tiny particles, which in turn end up in the seafood we eat. These micro plastic particles are mistaken for food and ingested by marine life that is consequently killed by the adverse effects of the particle on its digestive track. The image of a seal or pelican entangled in plastic is all-too-common to us. Alaska’s North Slope, once the United State’s largest wilderness area, now houses one of the world’s largest industrial complexes. They get entangled in the plastic and can’t get themselves out or suffocate to death. The young are especially at risk because they are not as selective as their elders about what they eat and tend to drift with currents, just as plastic does. Did you know that plastic is made from crude oil? Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. Plastic fragments in the world's oceans are insidious killers, steadily claiming an increasing number of bird and marine life every year. Plastic fishing nets lost at sea are notorious for ensnaring and killing unsuspecting animals, especially whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, birds, and sea turtles. There is no need for bite size cheeses wrapped in individual packages or individually wrapped mini boxes of raisins. ... As coral reefs provide habitat for over 25% of all marine life, this is very concerning. Plastic is cheap, non-conductive, strong, and moldable. How does plastic affect marine life? All rights reserved. Many seabirds are found dead with their stomachs full of this waste. According to Frontline, the world uses approximately 90 million barrels of oil per day (bpd). Similarly, recycling plastic is extremely difficult. ... and schools of fish that reside on those same reefs and nearby mangroves. Toggle navigation OneGreenPlanet In the 1970s, scientists at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory concluded that plastic entanglement was killing up to 40,000 seals a year. Humans invented plastic and animals are harmed by it. Plastic waste can encourage the growth of pathogens in the ocean. Why do we use so much plastic? Larger marine life consume microorganisms and smaller marine life that have ingested the toxic material and have become toxic themselves. Snack packs are not a necessity; they are a convenience. Turtles (and other animals) may mistake plastic bags for food. The other startlingly visible plastic problem is animal entanglement. Plastic contaminates the entire food chain. Simon Reddy directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ efforts to prevent ocean plastics. It is estimated that up to 13 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the ocean each year—the equivalent of a rubbish or garbage truck load’s worth every minute. Yes, that means you! The most significant overuse of plastic is plastic packaging. During transportation, many nurdles blow off into the ocean where they are mistaken for fish eggs and swallowed by birds and marine life. Not only is the production of oil harmful to the environment and wildlife, the transportation of oil is hazardous, too. Necropsies often showed that the … There are 500 times more pieces of microplastic in the sea than there are stars in our galaxy and by 2050 it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish On many beaches, plastic pollution is so pervasive that it’s affecting turtles’ reproduction rates by altering the temperatures of the sand where incubation occurs. The following photos help illustrate the extent of the ocean plastics problem. Most of our crude oil is drilled in Alaska. Around 1 million sea birds also die from eating or choking on plastic every year. HOW WE HELP PETS, FARM ANIMALS & WILDLIFE DURING DISASTERS, DONATE | Make a One-Time Tax-Deductible Donation, TRIBUTE GIFT | Donate in Honor of a Loved One, MONTHLY GIFT | Support Ongoing Animal Rescue + Rehabilitation, “Snowflake” Snags Rave Reviews & Editor’s Choice From Publisher’s Weekly Booklife, New Novel Attacks Trump On Climate Crisis, Book Review: ‘Snowflake’ Succeeds in Using Fiction to Communicate Climate Facts, Global Animal publishes novel “Snowflake”, Japan’s Animal Victims: Truth & News vs. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and invigorate civic life. But we are overusing and misusing this valuable material. 19 November 2017. Tens of thousands of marine species are killed every year due to our plastic waste. On the contrary, it’s the norm. Receive our best conservation research bi-weekly—stunning photos, wins, and action alerts. Separated out of these chains are ethane and propane, which are then heated and converted to ethylene and propylene and combined with other chemical to form a polymer which is then compressed into tiny plastic pellets “nurdles” and shipped and sold to manufactures that shape the polymers into different shaped plastics. Creatures big and small ranging from sea otters and sea turtles up to dolphins, manatees and whales are often the unfortunate victims of collisions with these vessels. These tiny pre-production plastic pellets are responsible for the sickness and death of thousands of fish and birds every year. This includes whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions. While dolphins are highly intelligent and thus unlikely to eat plastic, they are susceptible to contamination through prey that have ingested synthetic compounds. From production to consumption, plastic is toxic. Larger marine life consume microorganisms and smaller marine life that have ingested the toxic material and have become toxic themselves. “Even a single piece of plastic can kill a turtle,” explains University of the Sunshine Coast marine biologist Dr Kathy Townsend. How plastic is damaging planet Earth. Plastic pollution in the ocean is killing marine life and destroying the marine ecosystem. Plastic is also overused in food packaging. One of the biggest sources of plastic into our seas is simply littering. The usage of plastic packaging has skyrocketed over the past fifty years. Animals that have washed ashore dead have been found with plastic in their stomachs including sea turtles, Hawaiian Monk seals, whales, dolphins, and seabirds. The first impression of a product is the package and companies are well aware that they must design a package that captures the consumer’s eye. Recently, Royal Dutch Shell has been given permission to drill for an offshore oil well in the Artic. Plastic Pollution is Killing our Marine Life. The Tyee. Up to 13 million tons of plastic waste enters the ocean each year, threatening marine ecosystems and the people who depend on them. And it’s only getting worse. One of the major concerns in Australia is the affect on wildlife and in particular the ocean and waterways in general. And the higher levels of the food chain experience the highest concentration of toxicity due to biomagnification. The oceans face a massive and growing threat from something you encounter everyday: plastics. According to the United Nations, at least 800 species worldwide are affected by marine debris, and as much as 80 percent of that litter is plastic. According to a recent study, scientists concluded that corals that come into contact with plastic have an 89 percent chance of contracting disease, compared with a 4 percent likelihood for corals that do not. Plastic degrades, but it does not biodegrade—meaning that plastic simply just fragments and fails to decompose. Environment & Climate. For these reasons, along with many others, plastic is beneficial for our planet. Even if you haven’t seen the disturbing viral video with the injured sea turtle, you know plastic straws are bad.So bad that in January, California became the first U.S. state making it illegal for restaurants to automatically provide them, an effort to reduce the 500 million used daily nationwide.. Aug. 06, 2013 09:41AM EST. Death by plastic is not uncommon.  The Global Animal Foundation, 501(c)(3) functions like a Green Cross for animals and gets resources on the ground during disasters and emergencies that put animals, from pets to wildlife, in critical peril…. These beauty products are meant to go right to the drains, in due course ending up in the stomach of marine life. The spread of oil, industrial/agricultural waste, and chemicals continue to harm the Pacific, but plastic remains one of the most destructive forms of pollutions, killing one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine creatures per year, according to Ocean Crusaders. Tips For A Happy Summer: Protecting Your Pet From The Sun, 8 Indestructible Dog Toys Worth Barking About, Shark Attacks Vs. Shark Finning: Facts Behind The Fear, This Breakthrough Will Help Save Our Coral Reefs, When Humans Go Away, Wild Animals Come Out To Play, Tiger Cubs Exploited In America’s Malls Of Shame — Tiger King’s…, National Rescue Dog Day Is Here, So What Are You Waiting…, When Your Relatives Bring Up Politics At Thanksgiving, Florida Man Jumps Into Action To Rescue Puppy From Alligator’s Jaws, The Scary Side Of Gelatine Sweets This Halloween, 25 Most Bizarre & Fascinating Animal Facts. A liquid gallon is exactly 231 cubic inches, which is still abstract unless you imagine a gallon of milk, which is able to fill up 16 cups (if you don’t spill (due to gravity not to klutziness) the hard to pour first cup). On the beach on San Juan Island, Washington, Allison Lance walks her dogs every morning. Both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans have large areas of open water that are covered with floating plastic that ends up as microscopic fragments. Hold The Salt: Is Beach Water Safe For Dogs? An investigation found that the animal’s stomach contained 800 kg of plastic bags. They eat it, they get caught in it, or get sick because of it. It's like just the small thing's that we can do, that can make such a great difference. Buy in bulk to save waste and trips to the store! That is over 2 billion cups of oil a day just to make plastic! These micro plastic particles are mistaken for food and ingested by marine life that is consequently killed by the adverse effects of the particle on its digestive track. There are two principle ways that encountering marine debris can be fatal for these creatures: ingestion (eating) or entanglement in plastic-based fishing gear. Awareness of the world’s plastic problem is the first step to reducing it. Plastic is an even more toxic substance as, previously mentioned, it acts as a toxic-sponge for the ocean’s man-made pollutants. In this article, learn about plastic pollution and its impact on the ocean with an in-depth look at the effects of plastic on marine life. Even bags advertised to degrade in compost piles by heat generated be decaying organic garbage, definitely do not degrade on a beach or in the ocean. Published. Plastic pollution affects at least 700 marine species and some estimates suggest that at least 100 million marine mammals are killed each year by it. Global awareness about plastic pollution has grown tremendously in the last decade as nongovernmental organizations and scientists have better documented the environmental and economic impacts of this material on our marine environment. Around 23% of juveniles and 54% of post-hatchling turtles had ingested plastic … Worse, nurdles naturally absorb and amass other deadly synthetic chemicals making them even more hazardous. Once a turtle had 14 plastic items in its gut, there was a 50% likelihood that it would die. “Only about 5 percent of all plastic actually gets recycled,” according to Addicted To Plastic creator Ian Connacher. Unfortunately, turtles usually swallow them whole and so they retain any air that’s trapped inside. CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. July 26, 2006. The research team also found that younger turtles were taking in far more plastic than adults. Rumors & Facebook, The Life of a Pitbull: Lulu in Santa Monica, Jon Stewart Gets It All Wrong, Albeit Hilariously, 11 Ways To Protect Your Pet From Halloween Dangers. Even if the initial impact doesn’t kill the animal immediately, it is often injured badly enough that its ability to swim, obtain food, or avoid predators is hindered, eventu… Fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals can become entangled in or ingest plastic debris, causing suffocation, starvation, and drowning. Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic. A recent study found that sea turtles that ingest just 14 pieces of plastic have an increased risk of death. She carries a plastic bag in her hand to carry the bits and pieces of plastic debris she picks up. Fish and other marine animals that take in water through their gills increasingly face risks from minute particles of plastic debris. To better understand this immense quantity of oil, let me define some terms. Our ocean and the array of species that call it home are succumbing to the poison of plastic. Plastic Is Killing our Oceans – Issues, Facts, and Possible Solutions. Once the plastic is in the ocean, it becomes a part of the ecosystem. Share ... may play a role in the uptake of industrial pollution in marine life. Plastic pollution occured so rapidly that animals were unable to adjust their behaviour around this new material. By Laura Beans "Paper or plastic?" Whether it is a small pleasure boat or a massive cruise ship, boat strikes to marine animals are deadly. The Oceana report found that in the reported cases, 90 percent of the animals had swallowed plastic, and the rest were entangled in it. Plastic waste kills up to a million seabirds a year. Research indicates that half of sea turtles worldwide have ingested plastic. Fishing gear, once built with biodegradable wood and ropes, is now predominantly made of synthetic plastics. From destroying the Earth’s forests to claim land to killing animals of all shapes and sizes for food, sport and fur, Man’s impact on the environment is alarmingly large to measure. It’s hard to comprehend why there is so much plastic pollution around but the fact is it’s there; it’s destroying our waterways Copyright © 1996-2020 The Pew Charitable Trusts. These oil spills (and oil operations on the whole) pollute and contaminate the air, water, and land, thus being incredibly toxic to all animals in its surroundings. Globally, 100,000 marine mammals die every year as a result of plastic pollution. Crude oil is a non-renewable resource, meaning once it is used, it cannot be replaced. Global awareness about plastic pollution has grown tremendously in the last decade as nongovernmental organizations and scientists have better documented the environmental and economic impacts of this material on our marine environment. Up to 13 million tons of plastic waste enters the ocean each year, threatening marine ecosystems and the people who depend on them. ... plastics killing increasing numbers of marine life. Plastic contaminates the entire food chain. Silent Killers: The Danger of Plastic Bags to Marine Life Laura Beans. Here are a few ways you can help Posted Wed Wednesday 11 Apr April 2018 at 7:01pm Wed Wednesday 11 Apr April 2018 at … (ENVIRONMENT/GREEN LIVING) In April 2002, a dead Minke whale washed up on the Normandy coast. Plastic once ingested, cannot be digested or passed, so it hangs out in the animal’s gut indefinitely. 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found. Plastic bags harm marine (and land) environments in a few ways. Straws, bottles, bags, crisp packets, … Many sea animals are at risk of ingesting plastic as mistaken food or becoming tangled up in the plastic, both of which could lead to their death. It also is the material of energy-efficient insulation and the required material of wind turbines that greenly convert wind (kinetic) energy into mechanical energy. Plastic pollution in the world's oceans is killing turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, fish, corals seabirds and all forms of marine wildlife. Scientists estimate that 60 percent of all seabird species have eaten pieces of plastic, a figure they predict will rise to 99 percent by 2050. Examples abound, from the gray whale that died after stranding near Seattle in 2010 with more than 20 plastic bags, a golf ball, and other rubbish in its stomach to the harbor seal pup found dead on the Scottish island of Skye, its intestines fouled by a small piece of plastic wrapper. 8 Household Items Tested On Animals, The Global Animal Foundation, 501(c)(3) functions like a Green Cross for animals and gets resources on the ground during disasters and emergencies that put animals, from pets to wildlife, in critical peril. What’s wrong with making plastic? Buy a reusable water bottle and coffee mug, get a filter for your faucet (filtered tap water in some countries is actually more clean than bottled), bring a reusable bag to the grocery store, buy products with minimal packaging, buy food from bulk bins and fill your reusable containers, go to local farmers markets, avoid using disposable utensils, petition governments for better recycling laws, and pass on this information. Did You Know? Unless action is taken soon to address this urgent problem, scientists predict that the weight of ocean plastics will exceed the combined weight of all of the fish in the seas by 2050. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the use of single-use plastic packaging has grown from 120,000 tons in 1960 to 12,700,000 tons in 2006. Research conducted by the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom suggests that it is more difficult for an animal to get rid of waste captured in their gills, compared to items taken in by mouth. The Truth About Dog Bites: Don’t Bully Breeds! Do we not have enough willpower or time to create our own serving sizes? The first documented cases of seabirds ingesting plastic were 74 Laysan albatross chicks found on a Pacific atoll in 1966, when plastic production was roughly a twentieth of what it is today. For example, an ingredient in most feminine beautify aids—from Neutrogena to Clearasil—is plastic, labeled as “micro-fine polyethylene granules” or “polyethylene micro-spheres”. Individually, you can help the planet by becoming more plastic free. — Danielle LeVee, exclusive to Global Animal. And a lot of this rubbish comes from single-use plastics. Rubbish left on the beach after a day out, refuse fly-tipped in our rivers and waste blown in from our streets – all contribute to a massive problem. A barrel of oil is defined as exactly 42 US liquid gallons. Packaging material makes up more than 30 percent of all consumer waste (EPA). As per a study, 100000 marine animals die each year due to plastic pollution. It makes for lighter cars and planes, equating to the consumption of less fuel and therefore the reduction of CO2 emissions. A recent research studysuggests at leas… From seabirds, whales, and dolphins, to tiny seahorses that live in coral reefs……. Not only is plastic overused in wrapping products, but it is also misused in products. From the Arctic to Antarctica, ocean debris is killing marine wildlife—but we still have the power to stop plastic pollution. As with sea turtles, when seabirds ingest plastic, it takes up room in their stomachs, sometimes causing starvation. It Needs to Stop Now. by Paul Watson . Huge tankers are used to transport crude oil. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), each year the oil industry spills tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil on the North Slope alone. In February 2004, a Cuviers Beaked whale washed ashore on the coast of Isle of Mull, Scotland was found to have a cylinder of tightly packed shredded black plastic bin liner bags blocking its stomach. Don't miss our latest facts, findings, and survey results in The Rundown, Plastic Pollution Affects Sea Life Throughout the Ocean, to tiny seahorses that live in coral reefs…, State Budget Offices Promote Data-Driven Decision-Making, Plans for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Lacks Details, States Can Help Small Businesses Recover From the Pandemic, States Can Shorten Probation and Protect Public Safety. 3.6 percent or 3.2 million bpd of which is used in plastic and chemical production. Plastic packaging, originally meant for product protection and transportation, has now become tied up to the products image. The creation of plastic begins with a distillation process, which involves the separation of heavy crude oil into hydrocarbon chains. If one of these tankers are involved in an accident, the spilled oil can cause an environment disaster—contaminating beaches and destroying wildlife. And it's projected to get much worse before it gets better. A plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate. It is estimated that our annual global plastic consumption worldwide is 290 million tons, a number that is 283 million tons greater than the number 50 years ago. We are driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic leaks into the marine environment from land-based sources every year—this is roughly equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the oceans every minute.. A garbage truck's-worth of plastic ends up Some starve after doing so, mistakenly believing they have eaten enough because their stomachs are full. You might also be interested in: The best in fish keeping products and supplies; Hungry Animals Are Eating Plastic. Thus, almost every person has toxins infiltrated from plastics in their bloodstream.  Plastic obstructs the digestive track, blocks air passageways, and can cause entanglement. It’s said that the biggest killer of all marine life on the planet is: the plastic bag. Beaches littered with soda bottles and single-use takeout containers; rivers choked with plastic bags and cups; microplastics found in the deepest part of the ocean. Plastic pollution is killing our marine wildlife. Many animals in the sea mistake plastic for food. Blue Planet 2: How plastic is slowly killing our sea creatures, fish and birds. “Two of the turtles we studied had eaten only one piece of plastic… Killing off Marine Life: Plastic Garbage Polluting the Sea. What to do? was once the inquiry of bag-boys in supermarkets around the country. Plastic in our oceans affects creatures large and small. Species such as turtles that normally prey on jellyfish are especially at risk from plastic bag ingestion. In addition to the severe impacts of plastic pollution in various species of fish, the effects spill over to humans be… Once transported to an oil refinery, the crude oil can be transformed into plastic. It accumulates pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, and heavy metals at concentrations up to 1 million times higher than in ocean water. Plastic bags are particularly a problem as they are often mistaken as jellyfish in the ocean. Fish in the North Pacific ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic each year, which can cause intestinal injury and death and transfers plastic up the food chain to bigger fish, marine mammals and human seafood eaters. Over 100,000 marine mammal die each year from eating plastic bags. Conserving Marine Life in the United States, Ending Overfishing in Northwestern Europe, International Boreal Conservation Campaign, Protecting Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs, U.S. Public Lands and Rivers Conservation, Science and Flexibility Improves Ocean Conservation in East Africa, Bering Sea Western Interior at Risk of Resource Extraction, Ocean Protections Seen as Key to Countering Climate Change. Eating or choking on plastic every year as a toxic-sponge for the ocean’s man-made pollutants it up! Plastic into our seas is simply littering thousands of marine species are killed every year prey! Only is plastic overused in wrapping products, but it does not biodegrade—meaning plastic... 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