We all know littering is harmful to the planet, but did you know it can also be deadly for animals? Garbage that washes into sewers or flies from beaches or landfills into the ocean can easily injure or entangle sensitive marine animals. On land, discarded plastic soda rings, bottles, cans, and even straws can kill wildlife as well as cats and dogs. Thankfully there are many ways to prevent damage caused by everyday trash items.
Although the turtle in this video was saved, he was still subject to extreme unnecessary trauma due to a littered straw. Many animals who suffer litter-induced injuries never receive help, and can die a slow, painful death.
What You Can Do
Don’t ever litter. Animals can mistake trash – such as plastic bags – as food or shelter than can lead to suffocation. Cover your garbage and recycle bins securely to prevent animals from getting in, and keep an eye out for other people’s trash. Stopping to pick up litter along streets, hiking trails, or beaches could mean life or death for an animal. Also, consider using reusable items such as canvas grocery bags and washable straws and plates instead of one-off plastic items.