Modbury, a tiny town in Devon, England, recently became the first municipality in Europe to completely ban plastic bags. Jonathan Brown of The Independent reports an English woman who visited the Hawaiian Island National monument and was appalled by the damage plastic marine debris was causing its ecosystem was a major impetus to this ban.
Rebecca Hosking was quoted giving a moving tale of the affects of plastic marine debris:
"Two-fifths of the 500,000 Laysan chicks born on Midway each year die...Children's toys, plastic bags, even asthma inhalers, spill from the putrefying carcasses of the birds. In the course of an hour spent combing the body-strewn beach, she and a colleague gathered 400 cigarette lighters and 800 toothbrushes. The chicks' mothers have often flown 2,000 miles to forage for this deadly meal, bringing it back to the nest. By instinct, they believe that anything colourful on the surface of the water is squid so they pick it up, swallow it and fly the long journey back to regurgitate it into the mouths of their offspring. Their stomachs fill up with plastic and they die of dehydration and starvation."
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