| By Mia Reid
The Ocean Conservancy organization has collected over 200 million pounds of plastic from the ocean over the last 30 years. That includes straws, plastic bags, water bottles, cigarette filters, plastic utensils, and more. There is no number that exists for how many plastic bags have been used worldwide. In the United States alone, 100 billion bags are used annually such as shopping bags for groceries, clothing, or bags from any other retail stores. Most of these bags are only used for up to 1 hour before they get thrown away.
Typically, plastic bags don’t even end up in landfills because of their material being light enough to get swept away. 80% of it winds up in the ocean, subjecting marine life to the dangers of choking or eating it, causing a blockage in their intestines. Fish, sea turtles, and even whales are susceptible to plastic exposure because it easily makes its way up the food chain. In fact, National Geographic’s Planet or Plastic? article series delves into exactly how plastic can affect more than just marine and wildlife. 93% of Americans older than the age of six tested positive for BPA (a chemical used for plastic) in the body. Plastic that get tossed into our environment take up to 1000 years to degrade and leaves toxins in the ground that impacts soil nutrients and wildlife. 50% of plastic is used only once before being thrown away.
Unfortunately, we are exposing our environment to plastic pollution for quick convenience that leaves a lasting negative impact. Plastic consumption has contaminated our environment and every form of life. Join Fleet Farming this month with Plastic Free July, a global effort to reduce plastic use, and #choosetorefuse.
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