On 24 August 2000, a Bryde's whale died on the coast of Australia, in Trinity Bay, near central Cairns. An autopsy found that the whale's stomach was tightly packed with plastic, including supermarket bags, food packages, bait bags, three large sheets of plastic and fragments of rubbish bags, but no food. More than 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and birds die from plastic packaging every year and there are so many plastic bags caught in the trees in South Africa, the people have ironically crowned them their national flower.
Ireland has levied a small charge on each plastic bag to stop shoppers using them every time they go to the supermarket. Use of the stores' plastic bags has dropped dramatically as people bring their own. Between us we are using between 500 billion and a trillion every year. Does your country need to introduce laws to convince you? Just bring your own reusable bags along to the shops and protect our world from the plastic menace.
ART BY DEIA SCHLOSBERG/PCI