Marine debris is a serious threat to whales and other marine mammals. Ingestion of plastic can clog their digestive tract, leading to malnutrition and starvation, while entanglement in nets or lines can lead to drowning.
How does plastic affect marine life?
There are over 270 types of marine mammals worldwide. Globally, 100,000 marine mammals die every year as a result of plastic pollution . This includes whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions. Plastic affects marine life in various ways. Sea turtles are often found with their stomachs full or plastics. These animals have mistaken plastics for food because they are so similar to the jellyfish that sea turtles dine on.
Why do marine mammals eat plastic?
Marine debris often looks like food to marine animals. Plastic bags, balloons, and bits of rope, fish nets and buoys can look very much like fish to mammals. Small pieces of plastic act as sponges for waterborne toxins that then build up in the bodies of animals that encounter them.
What happens when marine mammals get entangled in plastic?
Animals can get tangled up in litter and debris, and the effects can be devastating. Seabirds and turtles lose their ability to fly or swim and can die of dehydration or starvation. Seahorses and fish become entangled in plastic bags, which they mistake for food – and even swallow – with terrible consequences.
At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement and ingestion of plastic marine debris, but the true number is probably much higher because of the challenges involved in gathering data on the incidence of this phenomenon.
How Can You Help?
The ocean is full of beautiful sea creatures who have been harmed by our plastic pollution. These animals don’t understand that plastics are dangerous, but we do.
Start with the basics:
- Reduce your consumption of plastic
- Recycle as much as you can
- Bring your own containers for food or beverage, instead of single-use plastic
- JOIN OUR CLEANUPS!
- Support by buying our products. Each one helps the recovery of 1KG of toxic waste from the Red Sea.
The little things matter. Make a difference. Preserve the sea.