It is estimated that some 180 million bags enter the Australian environment every year. That's 5.8 bags a second.
Studies have shown that plastic bags pose one of the greatest impacts to ocean wildlife. There is increasing evidence to show that even though only a small percentage of bags are littered, they break up into smaller and smaller pieces – having devastating impacts on the environment. This includes so-called ‘biodegradable’ bags, which are just as dangerous in the marine environment.
Plastic pollution is a major threat to wildlife. Globally it is estimated that 1 million seabirds and over 100,000 mammals die every year as a result of plastic ingestion or entanglement. Of great concern are the secondary micro-plastics derived from broken up plastic bags and bottles.
The CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014 estimated there are over 124 billion individual pieces of visible plastic littering the Australian coastline, as well as a large legacy of plastic from previous years which has broken down to micro-plastic particles. It is evident that urgent action needs to be taken on multiple fronts.