14 Mar
  • By Ryan Blake

What damage plastics do

Ever wondered what all that plastic from bottles, packaging, etc. actually does to the environment and sea life? This article will explain what affect all that has. Following on from the last article I did which was about how plastics enter the environment, I shall be talking about what damage those plastics cause once they’ve entered the environment. I went over this briefly previously but will be more in-depth this time.

Plastic Bottles
Plastic bottles take more than 450 years to fully decompose. During this time, harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) get released into the environment and cause harm to wildlife as well as humans. It has been proven to be linked to certain cancers, neurological difficulties, early puberty in girls, reduced fertility in women, premature labour and defects in new-born babies. There are more consequences, but I’ve just gone over a few. A study showed that 96% of women have BPA in their bodies.


Microbeads from toothpaste, soaps and shampoos get mistaken for food by fish and other small sea life. These little particles of plastic look very similar to the food they eat and therefore, the fish think it’s their food. This gets stuck in their intestines and can cause them to starve to death, as they don’t feel hungry due to the microbeads constantly in their stomach or intestines and not moving out of their body. Since we eat fish, these microbeads can end up on our plates and into our bodies. This has been proven to be very harmful to us humans as well as the fish. This can cause certain cancers to form, as well as other diseases and health problems that can occur.

Plastic Bags
Plastic bags get mistaken for food or sometimes swallowed by mistake by seals, dolphins and whales. Plastic bags get caught around seals’ necks and end up suffocating them. Whales end up swallowing them by accident since when they feed, they open their massive mouths wide and pretty much anything that’s in front of them, enters their mouth.

Straws get stuck in places they shouldn’t such as in a turtle’s nose. You may have seen a video where vets are trying to get a straw out of a turtle’s nose. It was bleeding and trying to get away because it was in so much pain. A couple of vets were holding it while another one had a pair of plyers, trying to pull the straw out. After a few minutes, they managed to get it out. It looked like it was in there for a while as the straw had green mould stuff on it. It’s not just turtles’ noses straws can get stuck in. It can also be swallowed by whales and other big sea creatures that don’t always know what they’re swallowing.

Cotton Buds
This may come as a surprise, but cotton buds are becoming more and more of a problem. Like straws, these can get stuck up the noses of turtles and other similar sea animals. They can also get stuck in their intestines and cause problems there. As a quick and easy resolution to this problem, consider purchasing cardboard or cotton buds made from other biodegradable materials instead.


Beer Rings
These can get stuck around sea creatures’ necks and cause them to suffocate. I’ve even seen a picture recently of a cat with one around its neck. The trouble is, a lot of animals put their head through it to get at some food behind it instead of moving it out of the way, even when they easily can. They take the food and then unfortunately realize that they can’t get their head out of it and start to panic. Sometimes, these drinks cans rings can tighten and cause difficulty breathing to the animal and eventually leading to the animal’s death if it doesn’t get help. It’s not just cats that get stuck with these rings around their necks, birds are most commonly the ones found in this situation.

In another article, I will go over what you can do to help prevent any more damage to our beautiful planet and its wonderful wildlife.


Hello, I’m Ryan and I’m 22 years old. I’m currently studying Web Development in Adobe Dreamweaver. In my spare time I like to make dance music (and sometimes other genres) in FL Studio. I’m passionate about the environment and it’s well-being and hate to see it get destroyed by pollution.