Scientists in Norway found more than 30 plastic bags inside the stomach of a whale stranded in shallow waters off the island of Sotra, Norway. The creature had very little blubber and was emaciated, suggesting that the plastic had led to it becoming malnourished.
The Cuvier beaked whale was put down by wardens after it became apparent that it wasn’t going to live and had clearly consumed a large amount of non-biodegrabeable waste.
When researchers at the University of Bergen performed an autopsy on the mammal, they analyzed the stomach contents and found huge amounts of plastic, including 30 plastic bags and other plastic packaging with labels in Danish and English. Dr Terje Lislevand, a zoologist who studies whales added that the intenstines were also probably blocked up with plastic, causing severe pain. Unfortunately, they weren’t shocked by this but Dr Lislevand said that it very sad to find such large quantities.
The following video may contain distressing scenes.
Cuvier’s beaked whales grow up to 22ft long and usually feed on squid and deep sea fish. They are not normally found in Norwegian waters. At the beginning of 2016 experts warned there will be more plastic than sealife in the oceans by 2050. At least 8 million tonnes of plastic already ends up in the ocean every year – the equivalent of a rubbish truck of waste every minute, according to the report from the World Economic Forum.
The rate of plastic pollution is only expected to increase as more and more plastic is used globally, especially in emerging economies with weaker waste and recycling regimes.
Some facts about plastic in our oceans
Every year millions of tonnes of plastic debris such as bags, bottles and food packaging seeps into our oceans.
As plastic degrades slowly, it pollutes the oceans for a long time.
It breaks down into fragments called micro-plastics, which are ingested by sealife.
It can badly affect living organisms as they become entangled in or ingest it, and they can become choked or poisoned.
Researchers estimate the amount of plastic in the oceas is set to increase tenfold by 2020.
There could be more plastic than life in our oceans by 2050.
If you visit our STOP page, you can find out how you can help with our campaign to Save the Oceans from Plastic.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water………….
Plastic bag bans are spreading in the United States
Los Angeles rang in the 2014 New Year with a ban on the distribution of plastic bags at the checkout counter of big retailers, making it the largest of the 132 cities and counties around the United States with anti-plastic bag legislation. And a movement that gained momentum in California is going national. More than 20 million Americans live in communities with plastic bag bans or fees. Currently 100 billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year—almost one bag per person each day. Laid end-to-end, they could circle the equator 1,330 times. But this number will soon fall as more communities, including large cities like New York and Chicago, look for ways to reduce the plastic litter that blights landscapes and clogs up sewers and streams.
The following “mockumentary” narrated by Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons tells of the “amazing” journey of a plastic bag from the supermarket checkout until it finally reaches the ocean and becomes yet another part of the Great Pacific Gyre.
While now ubiquitous, the plastic bag has a relatively short history. Invented in Sweden in 1962, the single-use plastic shopping bag was first popularized by Mobil Oil in the 1970s in an attempt to increase its market for polyethylene, a fossil-fuel-derived compound. Many American customers disliked the plastic bag when it was introduced in 1976, disgusted by the checkout clerks having to lick their fingers when pulling the bags from the rack and infuriated when a bag full of groceries would break or spill over. But retailers continued to push for plastic because it was cheaper and took up less space than paper, and now a generation of people can hardly conceive of shopping without being offered a plastic bag at the checkout counter.
The popularity of plastic grocery bags stems from their light weight and their perceived low cost, but it is these very qualities that make them unpleasant, difficult, and expensive to manage. Over one third of all plastic production is for packaging, designed for short-term use. Plastic bags are made from natural gas or petroleum that formed over millions of years, yet they are often used for mere minutes before being discarded to make their way to a dump or incinerator—if they don’t blow away and end up as litter first. The amount of energy required to make 12 plastic bags could drive a car for a mile.
In landfills and waterways, plastic is persistent, lasting for hundreds of years, breaking into smaller pieces and leaching out chemical components as it ages, but never fully disappearing. Animals that confuse plastic bags with food can end up entangled, injured, or dead. Recent studies have shown that plastic from discarded bags actually soaks up additional pollutants like pesticides and industrial waste that are in the ocean and delivers them in large doses to sea life. The harmful substances then can move up the food chain to the food people eat. Plastics and the various additives that they contain have been tied to a number of human health concerns, including disruption of the endocrine and reproductive systems, infertility, and a possible link to some cancers.
This is where YOU can get involved……….by signing our petition to #BanPlasticBags. It’s very easy and only involves a couple of clicks. You can sign using either your Facebook or Twitter account and share share share!!!!! We want to get enough signatures to take it to government to get single use plastic bags banned completely. Many places have introduced a tax/levy on each bag but whilst the money raised may be used for worthwhile causes, we want the option of having these bags taken away completely.
California—with its long coastline and abundant beaches where plastic trash is all too common—has been the epicenter of the U.S. movement against plastic bags. San Francisco was the first American city to regulate their use, starting with a ban on non-compostable plastic bags from large supermarkets and chain pharmacies in 2007. As part of its overall strategy to reach “zero waste” by 2020 (the city now diverts 80 percent of its trash to recyclers or composters instead of landfills), it extended the plastic bag ban to other stores and restaurants in 2012 and 2013. Recipients of recycled paper or compostable bags are charged at least 10ȼ, but—as is common in cities with plastic bag bans—bags for produce or other bulk items are still allowed at no cost. San Francisco also is one of a number of Californian cities banning the use of polystyrene (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) food containers, and it has gone a step further against disposable plastic packaging by banning sales of water in plastic bottles in city property.