|Photo of bagged coral courtesy of NOAA.|
First, a few plastic facts from ReUseIt.com:
- Plastic bags are among the top two items of debris found most often in coastal cleanups (Ocean Conservancy)
- Plastic bags wrap around living corals, quickly "suffocating" and killing them (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
- Approximately 500 nautical miles off the California coast sits a growing "plastic island," a gargantuan patch of floating plastic trash held together by currents stretching across the northern Pacific almost as far as Japan. This "plastic island" is made up of about 7 billion pounds of plastic garbage, and measures about twice the size of Texas.
- Of 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, about 200,000 die of starvation (including the endangered Laysan variety). Adult albatrosses mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding it to their chicks (L.A. Times)
- Since water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays, "every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere" (Research Triangle Institute)
How Are Other Countries Celebrating Plastic Bag-Free Day?