June 04, 2019
How Many Animals Die from Plastic?
One of the saddest facts concerning plastic pollution in our oceans and rivers is that many marine organisms simply can’t tell the difference between plastic and food. These animals then fills their stomachs with indigestible plastic and thus starve to death suffering to unending hunger because they cannot eat. 92% of all marine life which encounters ocean debris is exposed to plastic and 10% of these ingest the plastic.
Both entanglement with plastic debris and the ingestion of plastic and microplastic wreak widespread havoc on the ecosystem.
Shocking Death Statistics
With the weight of plastic soon rising to match the total weight of all marine life in the ocean by 2050, death statics due to marine plastic exposure is shocking beyond words. To give you rough idea of the widespread fatalities plastic pollution causes, here are a few metrics behind the murder:
It has been determined that approximately 100 MILLION marine animals are killed by plastics during the course of each year.
34% of all dead leatherback sea turtles are found to have ingested plastic due to the way that plastic bags resemble jellyfish causing in excess of 1,000 deaths per year.
Plastic kills 40% of young sea turtle hatchlings who are four times more likely to be killed than their adult counterparts
Between all marine mammals and turtles, 100,000 deaths occur from marine litter each year.
Approximately 1 million sea birds die from eating plastic through the course of each year.
Sperm whales (and others) wash up on beaches across the world being poisoned by toxic biproducts of plastic and microplastic. A beached whale washed up on the shores of Spain in early 2018 with 64 pounds of plastic waste found in its stomach, while during the year a pilot whale is southern Thailand died after swallowing 80 plastic bags weighing a total of 18 pounds.
A piece of plastic as small as a chocolate wrapper can prove fatal to mammals such as young seal cubs when swallowed and its almost inevitable that most marine life will encounter plastic waste at some point.
Consuming plastic waste causes the creature to die a slow agonizing death during which its last days are hopeless as it has no urge to eat yet remains hungry, suffering the many ill-effects of being poisoned by toxic biproducts.