Plastic bags cause emissions from millions of barrels of oil each year. But even more devastating is the impact of bags on our oceans.
In manufacturing, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil are used to make the bags Americans use each year, depleting our oil supply and contributing to CO2 build-up in our atmosphere.
But the build up of plastic in our oceans is a greater cause of eco-system disruption. An estimated 100,000 marine animals die each year from suffocating on bags. Even that number this seems small when you consider the impact of littered bags that break up into small pieces and wash into our waterways. These small pieces of plastic are accumulating at an alarming rate in our oceans. There are currently 42 pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton in the center of the Pacific, and that ratio is increasing.
Scientists estimate that every fish in our oceans has some plastic in its digestive system. All this plastic is toxic and is affecting our food supply. One of the main toxins is dioxin, an endocrine disruptor, or so-called gender-bender pollutant. Nine out of ten sea bass off the coast of the southeast US have gender mutations due to dioxin contamination. One in 50 arctic polar bears has both male and female organs, caused by hormone disrupting pollutants. We really should wonder how these pollutants are affecting us!
Dioxin even leaches out of landfills from the millions of bags that are thrown away properly, further contaminating waterways and oceans. If you think you have thrown bag away, remember: there is no away! So please, don’t throw away bags. Reuse a bag for a few years and help stop the destruction of our eco-systems.