Friday, June 13, 2008

Plastic and the Marine Environment

Plastic is extremely damaging to the marine environment because it is not biodegradable. Plastic causes problems for marine animals that get entangled. Plastic particles, although they cannot be seen by the naked eye, become absorbed by plankton, and enter into the base of the marine food chain. When larger animals, such as dolphins, eat smaller animals such as fish, they accumulate larger amounts of plastics in their bodies. This can cause serious health problems and even death.

Facts about Plastic Bags:
· The common plastic bag is made of polyethylene
· Polyethylene bags take 1000 years to break down but stay in the environment forever
· 4 to 5 TRILLION plastics bags are manufactured each year
· Americans use over 380 billion plastics bags a year, but recycle only 1%
· Production of 100 million plastic bags uses 12 million barrels of oil
· 100,000 marine mammals die yearly by eating plastic bags that are mistaken as food
· Approximately 1 billion animals die every year from ingesting plastic bags

What can we do?
· Stop using plastic bags. They are not necessary!
· Re-usable bags are available at most grocery stores or online
· Many supermarkets now sell re-usable bags for very low costs
· If you use plastic bags- RECYCLE them at the grocery store
· Support campaigns to minimize the use of plastic bags

This tidbit was brought to you by the DRC Conservation Committee.