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Impact of Plastic Bags

“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you are connected to the sea. No matter where you live.” – Dr. Sylvia Earle

The quote mentioned above by renowned oceanographer, scuba diver, and research scientist Dr. Sylvia Earle reflects the significance of marine life. No matter where you live, wildlife and marine life play a vital role in our habitat for the quality of natural life.

But the natural habitat gets disturbed by several waste products. Some of them decompose naturally, but others are non-degradable by organic means. The decomposition by manual ways causes pollution in the air, land, and water. Plastic is one such form of a pollutant that doesn’t decomposes naturally. 

Prevalence of Plastic bags in America: 

Americans use more than 100 billion plastic bags every year. In 2015, America generated 7,30,000 tons of plastic bags, sacks, and wraps, of which 87 percent of the waste was never recycled and ended up in landfills and oceans. Fewer than one in seven plastic bags got recycled in America. 

Looking at the potential pollution it may cause, many states aren’t in the state to ban plastic bags because of their utility. Plastic bags may cause pollution, but their utility is higher than other recyclable items. This shows the need for appropriate waste management practices with dumpster rental services that can store, bifurcate and dump the waste at the appropriate sites to manage. 

Plastic bags pose a serious problem to the ecosystem because they plastic bags are:

  • Available everywhere
  • Most ubiquitous form of pollution
  • impacting wildlife and marine ecosystem
  • Light in weight, durable, ideal for carrying goods
  • Slow to decompose. It can take hundreds of years to break down.
  • It can accumulate in the environment can seriously threaten the wildlife and marine ecosystem.

Around 14 million tons of plastic reach the ocean every year. It accounts for over 80% of all marine debris from surface water to deep-sea sediments. This plastic can cause serious risks to marine life, which the following research-based facts can understand:

  • Sea turtles mistakenly consume plastic bags in the confusion of jellyfish, a staple of their diet. Once ingested, it causes blockages in the food pipe and leads to starvation and death. 
  • Birds mistakenly ingest plastic bags, and that causes health issues, including intestinal blockages and starvation that leads to death. According to a survey published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, over 90% of seabirds have ingested plastic.

The pollution caused by plastic bags significantly impacts wildlife and the ecosystem. Plastic bags can lead to entanglement, ingestion, and many animal issues, specifically marine life. To mitigate these impacts, it is mandatory to reduce the use of plastic bags and dispose of them to prevent them from entering the environment.

Plastic bags impact marine life:

Plastic bags are one of the most significant sources of pollution in oceans. Marine life is at risk because these bags do not degrade organically and can persist in the environment for a long. They usually end up in oceans, where they cause environmental issues. The plastic bags break down into small pieces that marine animals ingest and enter the food chain.

Plastic bags impact Marine animals:

Marine species can suffer terrible effects from plastic bags. For instance, turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, their primary food source. The effects of ingesting plastic bags include suffocation, malnutrition, and even death. 

Plastic bags can also entangle marine species like whales and dolphins, which may cause harm or even death. According to a study, plastic waste causes an estimated 100,000 marine mammal deaths annually.

Ecological consequences of plastic bag pollution on marine ecosystems

Over eleven million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the oceans each year, according to research by the United Nations Environment Programme. Pollution from plastic bags has become a problem for the environment, mainly marine environments. Millions of tonnes of plastic debris are dumped into the oceans yearly, posing a serious threat to marine life. 

Pollution from plastic bags has various adverse ecological effects on marine habitats. Plastic bags can potentially entangle and suffocate marine wildlife, resulting in harm, deformity, and death. According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey, plastic pollution in the water harms at least 267 different animal species.

It can break down into small pieces over time, known as microplastics, which marine organisms ingest. This can lead to various problems, including digestive issues, hormone imbalances, and even death. 

It has economic repercussions, especially for sectors like fishing and tourism that depend on robust marine ecosystems. 

According to UN Environment Programme research, plastic pollution to marine ecosystems costs the world economy some $13 billion annually. Marine ecosystems are seriously threatened by plastic bag pollution, a huge environmental problem. 

The numbers amply illustrate the severity of the issue, and immediate action is required to solve it before irreparable harm is done.

Alternatives to plastic bags

Many individuals are switching to alternative methods of carrying groceries and other items as the ecological effects of plastic bag pollution on marine habitats become more apparent. The following are some of the most popular alternatives to plastic bags: 

 Reusable bags: They come in various fabrics, including cotton, canvas, and jute. They are environmentally beneficial because they are strong, washable, and durable. 

Paper bags are more environmentally friendly than plastic bags since they are biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable. However, they may not be appropriate for transporting big objects because they are less durable.

Biodegradable/compostable bags: These bags are made of plant-based substances that degrade over time, such as corn starch or vegetable oil. They are an intelligent choice for people who want a single-use bag but still wish to lessen their environmental effects.

Wrapping up

Properly managing the waste can minimize the negative impact of plastic bags. After being used, the bags aren’t decomposed at the right place and reach the landfills or oceans, which causes issues the wildlife and marine life in the ecosystem.

If the waste is correctly dumped at the right place, the issues can be resolved. To avoid the problem of plastic bags, one can use dumpster rental services in California. Some good companies, like pirate dumpsters, offer same-day delivery and pick-up with eco-friendly waste management. You can connect with them at 310-678-0503. To know more, visit https://www.piratedumpsters.com/.

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