The consequences of plastic bag usage are clear to be seen across our planet, the negative impacts are highly destructive and devastating for all living things. If change is not imminent, we are likely to be facing significant imbalances of natural cycles that have been in place for thousands of years, leading to potentially catastrophic issues for future generations.
In the north Pacific Ocean alone, there are 6 times more plastic debris than plankton and If we continue to go down this route, plastic is estimated to outweigh fish by 2050. As plastic bags are produced using petroleum and natural gases, harmful chemicals can be released into the water potentially leading to serious health complications. However, the most prevalent of issues is the consumption of plastic by animals in which fish, turtles and oceans birds are the most affected.
The amount of plastic produced since 1964 had reached an estimated 311 million tonnes by 2014. That is only expected to double again within the next 20 years, and almost quadruple by 2050. With only around 5% being recycled effectively, 40% ending up in landfill and more than a third destroying natural environments including our oceans and harming our wildlife.
Approximately 1 million sea birds and more than 100,000 marine creatures die each year from plastic entanglement/consumption, and these are only the ones that are found! In recent surveys, according to global waste management organisations, only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling meaning the average family will only recycle 15 plastic bags per year. Astonishingly, plastic bags are only used for an average of 12 minutes but will take up to 1000 years to biodegrade.
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