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The Impacts of Plastic Bags on Wildlife and Marine Life

Plastics bags are a part of our everyday lives; they're in grocery stores and it's tempting to take one for convenience issues. But, it's incredibly important to know about these impacts plastic bags have on marine animals. Read to learn more to get an insight as to why you should stop buying plastic bags.

1. Ingestion

Marine animals often mistake plastic bags for food, resulting in digestive issues, health problems, and sometimes death. These plastic bags can take centuries to decompose, during which they continue to pose threats to marine life. The toxins present in the plastic can bioaccumulate in organisms, potentially ending up in the human food chain.

2. Entanglement

Wildlife, both on land and in water, can get entangled in discarded plastic bags. This causes injuries, impair their movement, and limit their ability to find food. The ensnaring traps of plastic waste can render these animals vulnerable to predators and can heavily disrupt breeding processes. Prolonged entanglement can also lead to extreme physical distress and often results in a slow, painful death, reducing wildlife populations.

3. Suffocation and drowning

When animals become trapped in plastic bags, they are at risk of suffocation or drowning. Animals often mistake plastic bags for food, which can lead to severe health complications like obstruction and rupture of the digestive tract. Ultimately, this plastic pollution crisis not only poses a threat to individual animals but also disruptively affects entire ecosystems.

4. Habitat Destruction

Plastic bags littering habitats can disrupt ecosystems and harm the natural environment. Animals often mistake the floating bags for food, leading to ingestion that can cause choking or internal blockages. More so, the slow decay rate of plastic means these harmful effects can persist in ecosystems for years, threatening biodiversity and disrupting crucial environmental processes.

5. Microplastic pollution

Overtime, plastic bags break down into smaller pieces called microplastics, which can enter the food chain and have negative effects on various species. Over time, as these microplastics ascend the food chain, more complex organisms, including humans, can be exposed to them, leading to potentially deleterious health effects.

6. Disruption of marine food

Microplastics from degraded plastic bags can be mistaken for plankton by small marine organisms. This can disrupt the marine food chain and have cascading effects on larger marine species.


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