Earth Day 2024 "Planet vs. Plastics” Did You Know Plastic Debris is Causing Great Harm to Our Wildlife?


Wildlife provides essential ecosystem services that benefit humans and other organisms. These services include pollination, seed dispersal, pest control, nutrient cycling, water filtration, and maintaining genetic diversity. These services are fundamental for agriculture, food security, clean water, climate regulation, and overall ecosystem health; and in return humans pollute their environment with harmful plastics.

Plastic debris is causing great harm to our wildlife. It has a devastating effect on our ocean creatures, land animals and our ecosystems. For example, animals often mistake plastic debris for food. This ingestion can lead to blockages in their digestive systems, causing malnutrition, internal injuries, and even death. Marine animals like sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals are particularly vulnerable.

Plastics can absorb and accumulate toxic pollutants from the surrounding environment. When animals ingest these plastics, they can also ingest concentrated levels of these pollutants. This can lead to the bioaccumulation and biomagnification of toxins in the food chain, ultimately affecting animals at higher trophic levels, including humans.

As well, plastics can contain harmful chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which can leach into the environment. When animals ingest these chemicals, they can suffer from various health problems, including reproductive issues, developmental abnormalities, and organ damage.

Accumulation of plastic waste can alter habitats and ecosystems. For example, plastic debris can smother coral reefs, disrupt nesting sites for birds and turtles, and interfere with the movement of animals on land and in water.

Animals can also become entangled in plastic debris such as fishing nets, six-pack rings, and plastic bags. This can lead to injuries, amputations, and ultimately death due to restricted movement, suffocation, or starvation. Marine mammals, birds, and even terrestrial animals like deer can suffer from entanglement.

Lastly, floating plastics can act as rafts, carrying invasive species to new locations. This can disrupt native ecosystems and lead to competition for resources, predation, and changes in biodiversity.

If you didn’t know plastic debris is causing great harm to our wildlife, you do now. So do your part to help by reducing your own plastic waste, disposing of plastics safely (e.g. cutting six-pack rings, stop littering), recycling and by raising awareness of the harmful effects plastic has on wildlife. Together, we can make a positive impact and ensure a better future for our planet and its creatures.

💚Happy Earth Day!

Also check out our blog: 


Older Post