Deer highlights plastic bag problem

This saddening story has appeared recently in a New Delhi newspaper highlighting (once again) the blasé attitude many of us have concerning our use of plastic products.

The deer in question is a resident at Deer Park, a wildlife enclosure located in South Delhi. According to the article, the bag in its mouth contained food that was thrown by a well meaning visitor into the enclosure.

Rather than taking the food out of the bag and throwing the contents to the deer, they simply threw the whole lot in.

Now, none of us at Expert Skip Hire are rocket scientists, but we do know that deer can't get any nutritional value from plastic bags!

 

Aside from organisms such as plastic eating mushrooms, plastic is extremely harmful to virtually all wildlife. Whilst some animals have been able to gain some minor benefits from using plastic, such as hermit crabs using toothpaste caps as a durable home, most only suffer the negative consequences of our casual use of it.

Despite Deer Park having a susbstantial barricade, its not uncommon to see visitors throwing plastic bags and plastic cups into the enclosure. One of the problems is that food and drink bought at the park are more often than not served in disposable containers, making it much more likely that visitors won't dispose of them in a responsible way. Perhaps a possible solution could be the restriction of plastic materials sold by vendors at the park although suitable alternatives would still need to be found. Either that, or adopting a system whereby consumers are encouraged to return food or drink containers for a partial refund of their initial outlay.

A disposable world

Unfortunately, we hardly give a second thought to buying a shed load of throwaway plastic each time we go shopping or get our meals and drinks from high street outlets. Plastic cups, trays, containers, packaging and bags are typical ingredients of many of the purchases we make. Don't forget if you'd like a plastic straw to go with that too....

For all animals, including the deer, a plastic bag can literally be a life threatening daily hazard. Many animals will eat the bags containing the food, not knowing that they can't digest it. If it doesn't suffocate them first, it can get lodged in the stomach or intestines with devastating and often terminal results.

Kartick Satyanarayan of the Indian based animal rescue organisation 'Wildlife SOS' says:

“We routinely come across animals that have ingested plastic and very often die as a result of that. The most recent case was that of a rat snake that was found by our team in Gujarat that had ingested a polythene bag on which it choked and died.”

Of course, the same problem extends to sea creatures and birds too.

Is there an alternative to the humble plastic bag?

We've written a few articles on plastic alternatives such as edible drinking bottles and biodegradeable beer can rings, and there is hope that many more innovations are only a stone's throw away. One recent story that caught our attention is the exciting invention of an edible carrier bag, and we'll be writing a post about that next!

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