The analysis was based on a survey of 274 experts representing 19 fields of study assigned scores for entanglement, ingestions and contamination on a shortlist of items culled from 30 years of data from Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. The study found that a wide variety of items pose threats to marine wildlife through entanglement, ingestion, or contamination. Among the items, abandoned and lost fishing gear like nets, fishing line and buoys were found to pose the greatest overall threat to marine wildlife, primarily because of entanglement. Plastic bags emerged as the second most harmful item as they are often confused for food by marine mammals. Smaller items like balloons were also found to be harmful.
“This study illustrates exactly why an overwhelming number of voters support the plastic bag ban. Plastic bags pollute, cost money to clean up, and kill marine life,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste and sponsor of the single-use plastic bag ban.
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