Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj
Aren’t these appalling images of animals and birds trapped in ocean waste disturbing?
Birds trapped in plastic bags, a fork stuck in a turtle’s nose, and seals caught in abandoned fishing net: this is the haunting reality of plastics and its impact on animal life.
Plastic pollution is emerging as a serious threat to our marine ecosystem, not least because it takes hundreds of years to decompose.
According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature, over 8 million tons of plastic end up in oceans each year. Abandoned or discarded fishing nets, commonly known as ghost nets, are silent killers in the ocean, often trapping wildlife.
According to the UN Environment Programme, plastic makes up 80% of total ocean waste, killing 100,000 marine animals every year.
On 23 July, a beach-goer spotted a distressed seal pup on Westport Beach, California, USA, who was trapped in a littered fishing net, amongst other debris.
The man pulled the trapped creature to the shore and cut the net to set the animal free, helping it return home.
In another incident in the French Riviera, a diver saved a helpless octopus' life by removing a discarded fishing wire from the animal's breathing funnel.
It took three attempts for him to successfully pull the wire from the octopus' funnel, as the diver was cautious of causing as little discomfort to the creature as possible.
Globally, 700 marine species are in danger from plastic, 17% of them are listed as ‘critically endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Every now and then we see animals being rescued from life-threatening plastic waste that injures, suffocates and kills them. We must question the hazardous impact of plastic waste on our environment.
Is our dependence on plastic worth it?
(With inputs from AP)