Ban use of plastic bags in New Zealand by 2020
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Every single piece of plastic ever made, still exists. An extremely large amount of plastic bags will inevitably end up in our oceans, littering the floors and branches of our forests, killing both mammal and marine life alike. Plastic bags are responsible for the decline and extinction of thousands of species in New Zealand and around the world. It is hard to recycle plastic bags. Recycling may hold off some of the problem, but certainly does not eradicate it. By banning plastic bags in New Zealand we will be setting a global standard and example for the rest of this planet while saving it.
Plastic bags do not degrade in the marine environment. Plastic bags photo-degrade, meaning they break down into smaller and smaller bits of plastic but never completely go away. Marine animals, such as turtles, and seabirds - even some fish see these micro plastic particles floating in the water and think that it’s food. Plastic cannot be digested; thus the plastic blocks the digestive track and the turtle or bird dies from starvation because their food can’t be digested. It is estimated that over 267 species of seabirds have plastic in their bodies. Numerous studies have proven this fact.
Plastic bags also kill our land animals in huge numbers.
According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), in a report released in 2006, 80% of ocean pollution is land-based. This means that no matter how far from the ocean that you live, an improperly disposed of plastic bag will eventually reach the ocean through our rivers or by the wind.
The NRDC says that “plastic pollution affects every waterway, sea and ocean” in the world. In 2006, UNEP stated: “Over 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of ocean today. In the Central Pacific, there are up to 6 pounds of marine litter to every pound of plankton”. That was in 2006, 11 years ago; imagine what the statistics are now.
To understand just how vast and devastating marine litter is to our oceans, you must read UNEP’s report from 2005 entitled: Marine Litter, an analytical overview. This report will sober you up.
I am urging the New Zealand government and New Zealand's leading plastic bag distributors to take action towards this disaster and stop it while we can.
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