The death of a Gervais’ Beaked Whale in Puerto Rico is being blamed on plastic bag pollution. Biologists from Puerto Rico's Department of Natural Resources found over 10 pounds of plastic in the whale’s stomach and believe the plastic caused the whale to die of starvation or malnutrition.
Hundreds of marine species are harmed by plastic marine pollution. Plastic bags are especially harmful to sea turtles and marine mammals that mistake plastic bags for food. Bags that aren't consumed by these large animals break down into tiny fragments which have the potential to enter our own food chain.
This week the California Supreme Court heard arguments from CAW on whether local governments should have the authority to ban plastic bags without having to do an Environmental Impact Report. Attorneys representing plastic bag makers argued in their briefs opposing the bans, that stories of marine mammals and other wildlife being harmed by plastic bags is largely a myth:
"…the claim that large numbers of marine animals and seabirds are dying from ingesting or choking on plastic bags is shown to be a myth..."
"While there may have been an occasional occurrence, there is no evidence that plastic bags are a continuing significant problem for marine animals or seabirds."