The Problem with Those Plastic Bags (Part II)

The albatross is one of many animals that are harmed by plastic bags. 

The Animal Impact

Midway Atoll in the North Pacific Ocean is home to the biggest albatross colony around the globe. These birds come to nest on the isolated Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and they search for hundreds of miles out to sea looking for food. 

Swaths of these birds have been discovered dead by rescue workers on Midway because of ingesting huge amounts of plastic bag remnants. All the plastic found in the birds on Midway Atoll is carried to the island by albatross parents who fed them to their young. Over four tons of plastic amasses on the island daily. 

Other issues animals face due to plastic bag waste is choking from eating plastic shards and asphyxiation from becoming caught in plastic bags. Seals, dolphins, sharks, pelicans, flamingos, seagulls, and other birds and animals have been discovered dead in huge numbers due to plastic. 

Besides this, as the plastic decays into little pieces, it is also consumed by small fish, aquatic organisms, and jellyfish. Plastic waste gets into the food chain in rising concentrations as bigger fish feed on little ones and other animals feed on the fish, including humans.

The Environmental Impact

The litter created by plastic bag usage isn’t limited to land. Plastic bags contribute deeply to the formation of a quagmire of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean. It is projected to be two times the size of Hawaii or probably even two times the size of the United States. According to research studies done by a number of U.S. wildlife institutes, since all drains lead to the ocean, over 75% of all the debris discovered in the water begins from a land-based source.

For instance, Kamilo Beach in Hawaii is usually covered in two feet of plastic that washes up from the sea.