Identity Theft: Plastic Bags Pose as Jelly Fish

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With less than five percent of plastics recycled worldwide, where does the remaining 95% end up? A tremendous amount of plastic bags find a home in the sea. Floating with the currents of the oceans, the bags drift throughout the flows and fluxes of the five major ocean gyres worldwide.  Unfortunately, the Nemos and Crushes of the ocean have never hit-up the local Stop-and-Shop, and often misidentify these plastic bags as jellyfish.

According to the Sea Turtle Foundation, plastic imposters are responsible for the deaths and injuries of  hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine animals, and more than one million seabirds, mistaking plastic bags as jellyfish or other types of food. The un-identified phonies eventually process again as pollution and waste accumulated along coast-lands and within coral reefs. Plastics work to
entangle birds and fish by massing together, creating islands of marine
debris.

One of the most common consumers of plastics is the sea turtle. This ocean current surfer cruises right up to the plastic bag and instinctively chomps down on what becomes its last meal.

Here’s the facts from seeturtles. org : with downward facing spines, sea turtles’ throats prevent regurgitation. Once a turtle ingests a plastic, it is forever trapped within its stomach, preventing the proper swallowing of food.  All species of sea turtles, especially juvenile green turtles and endangered turtle species, are extremely susceptible to the deadly plight of plastics. Not only can the turtles not regurgitate the plastics, but once digested, the plastic prevents gas from escaping the body. Trapped within the turtle’s body, the turtle floats rear-side-up in a state commonly referred to as “bubble butt”. Once acquiring “bubble butt,” the turtle can no longer dive for food, and oftentimes becomes food itself (aka turtle soup).

We have the power to unmask the disguise of the plastic bag and its cronies of debris by eliminating plastic bag use and recycling plastics properly. Reusable bags can notably reduce plastic bags within the ocean. Other proactive actions include:

  • Support local, regional and nationwide bans on plastic grocery bags
  • Instead of littering, volunteer to clean up the trash on a local beach
  • Don’t release balloons into the air.

If your still swimming for information check out the following sites:

http://www.oceanconservancy.org

http://seaturtlestatus.org

http://seaturtlefoundation.org

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