Group Alerts Mayor to Single-Use Plastic's Deadly Impact on Wildlife
For Immediate Release:
February 14, 2020
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Wichita, Kan. – This afternoon, PETA sent Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple a letter expressing support for the recently formed task force created to investigate a potential local ban on single-use plastic bags.
PETA notes that some 100,000 marine animals and at least a million birds are killed every year after becoming entangled in or ingesting plastic bags. It can take 500 or more years for a plastic bag to break down—and while the average American throws away more than 300 plastic bags every year, less than 1% of them are recycled.
“Millions of animals experience slow, painful deaths every year from plastic bags that suffocate them, choke them, or block their intestines,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA commends the city of Wichita for considering a ban on single-use plastic bags, which would help protect countless animals, from sea turtles to whales to deer.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Mayor Whipple follows.
February 14, 2020
The Honorable Brandon Whipple
Mayor of Wichita
Dear Mayor Whipple,
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including many across Kansas, in response to your city council’s decision to create a task force to investigate potentially reducing or eliminating single-use plastic bags. We strongly encourage you to move forward with this ban.
As you may know, some 100,000 marine animals and at least a million birds die every year after becoming entangled in plastic bags or mistaking them for food and ingesting them. One plastic bag—which is used for an average of 12 minutes yet takes 500 or more years to break down—can kill numerous animals, because after one animal dies from ingesting a plastic bag, his or her body will decompose and the bag will be released to harm another.
According to National Geographic, plastic trash is found in 90% of all dead seabirds. A study of more than 300 autopsies showed that plastic was present in the stomachs of one in three sea turtles, and recently, a whale washed up on a beach with 220 pounds of plastic in his stomach and a deer was found dead with more than 15 pounds of plastic in his stomach.
On average, each American throws away more than 300 plastic bags annually, while less than 1% of them are recycled. Thankfully, awareness of plastic waste in our oceans and its impact on wildlife is increasing, and we can all take personal responsibility for this scourge. We praise your efforts to address this issue and encourage you to enact a ban. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk