This year for Christmas, I would like to give out gifts that reflect all that I learned in my Environmental Science class at University. I was so moved that I have begun making changes in my own life to take better care of our world on a daily basis. So for my first project, I am going to make shopping bags to replace all those plastic ones you get everywhere you go shopping.
Fact: Globally, over 1 million plastic bags are consumed per minute.
Gut-wrenching Fact: Marine wildlife mistakes plastic bags for food and dies.
Frustrating Fact: It’s taking too long for supermarkets and politicians to sort it out. Plastic bags are still blowing in the wind and choking the whales.
Happy Fact: Making your own bags will help, with immediate effect.
Plastic bags in water are serial killers. They are ingested by marine wildlife, as plastic bags are often mistaken for jellyfish. The dolphin, whale, turtle or bird dies by suffocation or starvation and decomposes around the bag. The bag floats off, ready for its next victim…
No one knows how long these treacherous bags take to biodegrade. Humans have only been using them for 40 years but they are already covering the planet. Plastic bags photodegrade (break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits) and the pieces infiltrate every part of the food chain, for marine wildlife and humans.
A young female minke whale was washed up in Normandy, France, on April 6th 2002. These were the contents of her stomach:
1 x plastic/aluminum crisp packet
2 x English supermarket bags
7 x various coloured dustbin bag bits
7 x transparent plastic bags
1 x food packaging wrapper
Factoids at a glance:
Over 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year (so that’s about 70 plastic bags per person – if everyone had a trusty 10 or so morsbags to keep and use, problem solved!)
Retailers and governments are struggling to make the difference that is needed through taxes and bans – we – the consumers – need to take this into our own hands.
“The impact of this plastic waste can be seen littering our landscape, threatening our wildlife and accumulating as ‘plastic soup’ in the Pacific Ocean, which may cover more than 15,000,000 sq. km,” Janez Potocnik – European Commissioner for the environment.
According to MSN, the production of plastic bags creates enough solid waste per year to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times.
In some parts of the ocean there are six pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton.
These are unreferenced facts and there are plenty more out there on the web. However, it is generally acknowledged and accepted that plastic bags are harmful in one way or another, so we think time would be better spent making a reusable cloth bag than googling! Hope you agree…
The staggering amount of plastic bags freely handed out in shops is boggling and consequently shoppers habitually forget that plastic bags are not the only option.