A recent case unearthed 100 plastic bags in the unnaturally large stomach of a young sperm whale, found dead in the Aegean Sea near a Greek island. Click here for a photograph of the stomach contents.
Experts say that juvenile sperm whales are especially vulnerable to plastic bag impacts because they are still learning to identify their main source of prey--large squid--from the plastic bags.
This article asked one scientist if plastic ingestion by sperm whales was a common occurence. The tragic response:
"Unfortunately yes. Several times and in various cetacean species: sperm whales, Cuvier’s beaked whales and Rissos’ dolphins. All these species have something in common: they are mainly or exclusively squid eaters and deep divers...we find plastic bags or other plastic products of human ‘civilization’ in an important percentage, more than 50%, of the stomach contents examined from the above mentioned cetacean species."
Not only are they harmful to our marine wildlife, plastic bags also cost millions in cleanups and inflated product prices to offset the cost of these "free" bags.
Earlier this week, Eugene, Oregon became the latest city to ban plastic bags, and San Mateo County is steps away from adopting its reusable bag ordinance after approving the first reading of the ordinance on Tuesday.