Plastics have been around for quite sometime and they are one of the most destructive man-made products that have impacted wildlife in the seas and on land. These plastics are mostly petroleum-based and are quite durable which is why animals find it hard to deal with. Sea turtles die from strangulation and internal injuries due to ingestion and getting caught them. Dogs and cats end up having them in their guts killing them as they slowly starve to death. Even animals which are considered to be wild have been found with these man-made plastics in their stomachs. The threat they pose on nature has even resulted in outrageous ideas such as taxing their use which has been successful by as much as 90% as the Irish law has. The British government has also been in discussion with regards to similar tax measures in efforts to lessen the polluting effects of these tough plastic bags.
There have been developments such as biodegradable plastic bags which degrade with exposure to light, the ground or moisture but they are proving to be more costly than standard plastic bags. The use of paper bags which was encouraged in the US resulted in mixed successes, lessening the use of plastics but increasing the demand for trees in order to make paper bags. The problem is that plastics are cheap and durable which is also their main problem for nature which does not have the mechanism to break them down. Plastic nets which have been the mainstay of the fishing industry is so tough even the biggest of animals cannot get rid of them when they ingest or get caught in them. Sharks, turtles and whales have died from getting entangled in these nets, some of which are left indiscriminately by fishermen when they get caught on the bottom of the seas, opting to cut them loose rather than to get somebody down there to release them.
Taiwan is set to ban the use of free plastic bags to preserve the county’s ecology which has seas all around. Many nations have also been working on similar actions to reduce the environmental impacts these containers pose on the earth and her animal inhabitants. So re-use your bags and bring the ones you already have when you shop. Each and every small endeavor becomes a worldwide effort if we just do our own little parts. You could also support the many charitable organizations who are promoting better understanding of our seas and the impact we place on them like the Ocean Alliance, UnWorks, The Sea Shepard.org and the many more international and local conservation groups who are hard at work in helping and protecting nature for better tomorrow.
Originally posted on February 29, 2008 @ 6:59 am