As a warning: this is going to be a pretty depressing post. After all, the topic is how plastic kills animals – particularly marine life and sea birds – and which ones are at risk. Though this isn’t a pleasant article to read, what plastic waste is doing to our environment, ecosystems and the animals that are a part of it isn’t very pleasant either. Staying educated and educating others is the only way to make a change and end plastic pollution.
How Plastic Kills Animals
There are said to be more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. All of that plastic is deadly to marine life, and here’s how:
Birds and marine life get tangled up in plastic such as fishing line, nets, bags, and even the plastic rings that come on a six-pack of soda. Any of these can tangle their way around an animal, ultimately leading to death.
Any parent knows not to let their child play with a plastic bag on their head because they might wind up suffocating. The same is true for sea animals. Animals that need to come up for oxygen can get their heads caught inside of a plastic bag and suffocate to death.
Almost every sea animal now has plastic in their digestive tract. Plastic is a hard substance and almost impossible to digest or pass. Just a few months ago, a beached whale was found in Norway. Cause of death? Ingesting more than 30 plastic bags and other trash.
Which Animals are at Risk of Death by Plastic
Marine life and sea birds are at the greatest risk of dying due to plastic consumption. Some estimates say that more than 700 marine species are at risk. Here are just a few of the animals most at risk of death by plastic:
These guys are majorly at risk. Not only do plastic bags look like jelly fish to them (a food source), but plastic straws make their way up turtles’ noses and nets wrap around them. A lot of beaches ban plastic straws or lids in hopes to protect the sea turtles, but more needs to be done – and fast! You can start by replacing your plastic straws with reusable straws.
The scene of a beached whale is becoming all too common – and ingested plastic has a lot to do with it. Plastic is hazardous to just about every type of whale out there and many are on the endangered or critically endangered list.
Seals & Sea Lions
These sweet creatures are most at risk of entanglement, but also are at risk of plastic in other ways.
There are tons of different types of sea birds who catch fish from the ocean water. Unfortunately, what looks like a fish might be a deadly piece of plastic.
This is a very short list of the animals at risk from death by plastic. If you love animals and the environment then the best thing you can do is make some small but important changes in your life. Start by committing to the Skip the Straw campaign – and encourage your friends to do the same by sharing this article.