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    15 Facts That Will Make You Never Use Plastic Bags Again

    If we continue at the rate we're going, studies estimate that there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

    Hi everyone! My name is Isha. Since it's a new year, I wanted to do things a little better. For example, being more aware of my consumption habits and ecological footprint.

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    So here are some reasons why I'm going to try reduce my use of plastic bags this year, and hopefully they'll convince you to do the same.

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    1. Plastic can remain in the environment for over 1,000 years before it begins to decompose.

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    To put that further into perspective, every single piece of plastic ever made exists to this day.

    2. It is estimated that at least eight million tonnes of plastic waste is added to the world's oceans each year.

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    This is the equivalent of dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean EVERY minute.

    3. And if we continue at the rate we're going, studies predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight.

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    4. Most plastics aren't biodegradable and instead break down into microplastics that are ingested by marine life.

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    Through a process called photodegradation, plastic bags that are exposed to sunlight can break down into millions of small, confetti-sized particles. Consumption of these particles by marine animals can lead to starvation, malnutrition, dehydration, and eventual death, as the plastic is unable to be digested by their bodies.

    5. And according to scientists, there are at least five trillion particles currently floating at sea.

    Flickr/Florida Sea Grant/Creative Commons / Via Flickr: flseagrant

    Altogether these particles have an estimated weight of over 250,000 tonnes.

    6. In fact, one million sea birds and 100,000 marine animals are killed annually from the plastic in our oceans.

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    Even worse is that the deadly cycle of plastic continues even after an animal's death. This is because its body will decay at a much faster rate than that of the bag. Once the animal has decomposed, the plastic will be released back into the environment, ready to be mistakenly eaten by another unfortunate organism.

    If you need any more convincing, take a look at this poor sea bird whose stomach is filled with plastic.

    7. As plastics break apart, they release and absorb potentially toxic chemicals that can ultimately end up on our dinner plates.

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    Think of plastic like a sponge. They not only release their own toxic chemicals into the ocean, but also readily absorb other dangerous pollutants that can disrupt the normal functioning of hormones in the body. Marine species ingest these microplastics and in turn can pass these toxic chemicals through the food chain and into our bodies.

    8. As many as one trillion plastic bags are produced each year are discarded after 15 minutes of use.

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    Consider your own use of plastic bags after a shopping trip. You hardly re-use most of them, right? Especially the smaller ones that you're unable to line your bins with.

    9. And if we linked together the 100 billion plastic bags that pass through the hands of US consumers every year, they would circumnavigate the globe 1,330 times.

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    Not once, not twice, but 4,200 times.

    10. The production of plastic uses up to 6% of our global oil resources.

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    Most plastics are made of polypropylene, a material that is manufactured from non-renewable resources like petroleum, natural gas, and coal. Through the extraction and production of these materials, greenhouse gases are created which further contribute to global warming.

    11. And the total amount of petroleum needed to drive a car for one kilometre is the equivalent energy required to produce 8.7 plastic bags.

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    Sounds pretty wasteful considering the short amount of time most plastic bags are used for, right?

    12. Only 9% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide. The vast majority is accumulating in landfills or polluting our natural environment.

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    Plastic bags aren't the easiest material to recycle. They either get caught in recycling machinery, or aren't accepted by facilities who don't have the capacity to recycle them. But that doesn't mean you should stop your efforts to recycle them!

    13. Across the planet are five major ocean gyres, where extremely high concentrations of plastic gathers due to current circulation.

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    The largest of these is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which has been described as the largest plastic dump on Earth. According to this study, the mass of plastic is approximately six times higher than that of the plankton living there.

    14. The total financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems is estimated to be at least US$13 billion annually.

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    15. And the amount of plastic bag litter polluting drainage systems has been found responsible for exacerbating natural disasters in some countries.

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    The government of Bangladesh banned the use of plastic bags in 2002 after they were found to exacerbate the 1988 and 1998 floods that devastated most of the country. This was because the water drainage system had been congested by plastic bags which prevented the escape of water.

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