Plastic Waste: Direct and Deadly Effect on Wildlife

plastic pollution

Plastics pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it. Marine wildlife also mistake plastic waste for prey, and most die of starvation as their stomachs are filled with plastic debris. They also suffer from lacerations, infections, reduced ability to swim, and internal injuries. Floating plastics also contribute to the spread of invasive marine organisms and bacteria, which disrupt ecosystems. Endangered wildlife like Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific loggerhead sea turtles are among nearly 700 species that eat and get caught in plastic litter.

Plastic accumulating in our oceans and on our beaches has become a global crisis. Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences that make up about 40 percent of the world's ocean surfaces. At current rates plastic is expected to outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050.

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