Essay on How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life

Table of contents

There is no doubt that the rivers merge into the seas and oceans. It means that the domestic and industrial contaminated water, pesticides, fertilizers, heavy metals, urban and industrial solid waste, agricultural waste, nuclear waste, polythene etc. which flow along the river, all eventually get into the seas and oceans. It is estimated that about 30-35 million kg of plastic packing material and bags are dumped directly into the sea. While about 200 million tones of plastic waste reaches the oceans through various rivers.

Chemicals emanating from plastic pollution are damaging those bacteria present in the ocean, which produce oxygen up to 10 percent. The exposure of chemicals emitted by plastic pollution is blocking the growth of these micro-organisms, affecting the gene cycle. In a study, it has been found that exposure to chemicals emitted by plastic pollution affected the growth of bacterial groups (Prochlorococcus), leading to a decrease in oxygen production. The group of green microorganisms is called Prochlorococcus. It is the most photosynthetic organism. Through photosynthesis, these organisms produce carbohydrates and oxygen in the sea. These bacteria are considered to be the most responsible for photosynthesis in the ocean.

Long and Short Essay on How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life in English

Here some long and short Essay on How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life in English are given into different words limits according to the need and requirement of students.

These essays will provide you the information about the reason, effect and consequence of plastic pollution in seas and oceans that has become a matter of concern for the entire world.

In these How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life Essay you will find out that how human is responsible for this kind of pollution and what measures should be taken to overcome from it so that the marine life will become safe.

You can use these essays on the harmful effect of plastics on marine life in your school assignments on harmful effect of plastic or in discussions on the subject with your classmates and teachers.

Essay on How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life – 1 (200 words)

Marine pollution has always been a problem since the advent of large-scale agricultural activity and industrialization. The marine environment is contaminated and polluted through various sources and forms.

The increasing dependence of the human population on plastics has filled the oceans and the land with pollution, 80 percent of the debris found in the oceans consists of plastic. The plastic thrown and dropped into the seas is a major threat to marine life and wildlife, as it sometimes causes problems for wildlife and also becomes a cause of death. The increasing level of plastic dumped in the oceans is causing harm to aquatic life as well as to external life by causing problems such as suffocation.

Chemicals, industrial and agricultural waste, radioactive materials and plastic etc are some of the significant sources of marine pollution. Majority of plastic in oceans and water bodies comes from urban settlements without any proper waste disposal mechanism.

Plastic bags can stay in water for centuries and though they break down into smaller parts, they don’t chemically disintegrate. Fishes and turtles often confuse plastic with their natural prey and ingest it causing serious damages to their digestive system.

Essay on How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life – 2 (300 words)

Sea debris is mainly waste thrown by humans that floats or swims in the sea. Eighty percent of marine debris is plastic; an ingredient that has been accumulating very rapidly since World War II. The plasticity present in the oceans can be equal to one hundred million metric tons. Discarded plastic bags and other plastic waste that enters the seas are a threat to the wildlife and fisheries industry.

This poses a risk of life of marine animals and species getting stuck, breathlessness and ingestion. Fishing nets, usually made of plastic, can be left or lost in the seas by fishermen. These nets, known as ghost nets, can trap fish, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, dugongs, crocodiles, seabirds, crabs, and other animals, disrupting their movement, causing starvation, biting meat or limbs and Infection can occur and organisms that come to the sea surfaces to breathe die of suffocation.

Many animals that live in the sea or depend on them can swallow the wastes, as they often look like their prey. Plastic waste, when gross and entangled, is difficult to swallow and can remain permanently stored in the stomach or intestine of these animals, blocking food passage and death from hunger and infection.

Plastic keeps on accumulating because it is not biodegradable like other substances. They definitely photo-degrade when exposed to sun rays, but they do this only in dry conditions, because water stops this process.

Photo-degraded plastic decomposes into even smaller pieces in marine environments, while the remaining polymers decompose to the molecular level. When floating plastic particles photo-degrade in the shape of zooplankton, the jellyfish try to swallow them and thus the plastic enters the seafood chain.

The poisonous additives used in the production of plastic materials dissolve in the surrounding environment when they come in contact with water. Water-borne pollutants collect and magnify on the surface of plastic waste and make plastic even more dangerous in the ocean than it is on land.

Essay on How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life – 3 (400 words)


Do you know that every year 13 million tons of plastic is depositing on the sea surface. This figure is so large that if plastic waste continues to spread in the sea at the same pace, then within a few years it will become a disaster for all forms of life. According to statistics released by the United Nations, one truck per minute of plastic waste is dumped into the sea, 50 percent of which is single-use plastic.

Impact of Plastic Deposits on Oceans

These wastes accumulating in the sea surface are having an impact on the ecology of the sea. Plastic is not biodegradable, so it exists for thousands of years without changing its condition. Due to the salinity of the seawater, it is divided into small pieces which are easily ingested by fish or other sea creatures.

Research suggests that this plastic ingested by marine organisms affects their fertility as well as reduces their life expectancy. Plastic waste is also fatal for various types of algae that grow on the sea surface. It obstructs the sun’s rays which play an important role in the growth of algae.

Damage the Economy

Since, an integral part of the human diet is found in marine organisms and other types of marine products, the harmful effects of plastic cannot be avoided. This shows how important it is to prevent plastic waste from accumulating on the ocean surface. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), marine pollution is causing US $ 13 billion damage annually.

Complete Ban on Plastic

The growing plastic deposits in the seas and oceans have attracted the attention of the entire world towards the management of plastic waste. Many leading countries of the world including several US states have started to ban single-use plastic sequentially. As a rule, the use of polythene of thickness less than 50 microns is banned, but this is proving insufficient. More steps have to be taken forward to control the waste generation. France is the first country in the world to ban single-use plastics in 2016, as well as completely stop all such use by 2025. Uganda completely banned the use of plastic bags in 2008.


India produces 56 lakh metric tons of plastic waste every year, a large part of which goes to the seas and oceans through rivers and streams. Therefore, India also needs to be aware of this problem. India has also started efforts in this direction, but there is no concrete rule here.

Essay on How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life – 4 (500 words)


In our lives, almost everything is related to plastic. But now plastic is affecting the global environment, especially plastic waste has changed the entire planet, and now these small plastics debris have also had a big impact on the marine ecosystem, resulting in the decrease in the number of fish and other creatures as well as the aquatic vegetation in the seas and oceans.

How does Plastic Waste Reach the Oceans?

There are three main reasons or means for this:

  • First, people who go to the sea shore i.e. the beach throw plastic garbage there.
  • Second, ships or boats dump large amounts of plastic waste in the ocean.
  • And thirdly, rivers carry a large amount of garbage along with them to the sea.

How much Waste is received from the Rivers in the Sea?

Quoting a research printed in 2017, it has been written that plastic waste from 1.15 to 2.41 million tons, i.e. 24 lakh tons, goes to the seas and oceans every year. And this is being done only through rivers. A study conducted on 20 major rivers found that most of Asia’s rivers are transporting this waste to the oceans, and that plastic waste from rivers around the world makes up 67 percent of the marine waste.

Where does this Plastic Waste come from?

In the last 70 years, plastic demand has increased widely. According to the report of Plastic Ocean Society, more than 300 million tons of plastic is being produced in the world every year. Half of this plastic is used for disposable items and is discarded once used. The result is that every year from 8 million to 10 million tons of plastic reaches into the seas and oceans.

Where is Plastic used on a Large Scale?

It is estimated that an American or European person uses about 100 kilograms of plastic a year and most of it is used for pack casing. On the other hand, if we talk about Asia, then this figure per person is 20 kg per year.

Waste which is not Destroyed

The use of plastic has gained momentum because it remains for a very long time, i.e. it cannot be completely destroyed. Plastic is broken into particles due to exposure to the heat of the sun. The plastic found in the sea does not face the same temperature, in other words it is not even exposed to direct sunlight, so it takes more time to destroy marine plastic waste. And by the time the old plastic waste reaches the verge of destruction, by then the new garbage has come in huge quantities.

Sea Life is being Destroyed

Many species of sea birds and organisms are being destroyed by unwanted intake of plastic. It is also being seen that seaside frogs, turtles and other coastal creatures eat plastic under the deception of jelly and get sick or die.


Another important aspect is that the exercise to make sea water potable has started because drinking water crisis has engulfed many parts of the whole world. In such a situation, the amount of drinking water that you will have in your hands in the future due to the waste of plastic waste in the sea will also be like slow poison.

Essay on How Plastic Bags are Harmful to Marine Life – 5 (600 words)


Most of the garbage thrown by the people on the seashore and beaches has the largest amount of plastic bags. Most plastic bags become useless once used, and when dumped into many water-bodies such as rivers, lakes etc., and eventually reach the oceans. On reaching the oceans, it spreads into many places through ocean currents. Many sea creatures eat them in deception and die.

The plastic floating in the sea looks like jelly-fish to sea creatures, especially as it poses a threat to sea-turtles that eat jelly-fish as their food, because they mistakenly eat it as their food and it gets trapped inside their stomach, which eventually leads to their death. Similarly, other sea creatures also die by eating plastic waste spread in the oceans around the world, which is a matter of great concern.

What can be done to Conserve Marine Life?

Plastic bags spread across the ocean have become a very large scale problem, which mankind needs to consider seriously. For this, we first need to ban the throwing of plastic near the seashore and in aquatic places. We should adopt fully biodegradable plastic bags, which are made from trees and plants and are environment friendly. We should set up a complete recycling system for plastic bags.

We need to create awareness among the general public on this issue and educate people about the use of plastics. Along with this, we need to encourage research to protect marine life from the fatal consequences of plastics. The use of plastic in those places and areas should be completely banned by identifying those areas where a large amount of plastic is disposed of.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Government should ban the use of plastic bags altogether, because this is the best solution to this problem. In order to promote such restrictions, governments all over the world should impose heavy tax on plastic bags.

In this case, already some well-known countries like Spain, Croatia, Greece and Israel have already imposed heavy tax on the use of plastic bags, which has led to a huge reduction in the use of plastic bags in these countries. Taking lessons from these countries, we also need to fix taxes on the use of plastic bags and reduce their production.

Public Awareness is Mandatory for Conserving Marine Life

We have already identified the problem of how plastic bags are reaching the sea and now there is a need to take meaningful initiative on this problem. We need to enact stringent laws to prevent plastic production to keep the marine environment clean. Along with this, we also need to follow such rules strictly.

Apart from this, we need to make more and more people aware of this problem and give information about all the rules related to it. It is important to increase public awareness of disposal of plastic bags among people regarding this subject. Apart from all this, we also need to develop a system in which the use of plastic bags is minimal. In other words, we should only encourage the use of recyclable plastic bags or complete ban on all types of plastic bags is the best solution to this problem.


Throwing of plastic bags in open areas is a major problem as it eventually gets into the seas and oceans through drains and flowing water bodies. Plastic bags are a serious problem for marine life, which includes many types of animals. This is the time when we need to understand the serious consequences on marine life. It is our responsibilities and duty to protect the marine life from further damage. Therefore, mankind, assuming its responsibility towards marine animals, should use plastic bags in such a way that it does not reach the rivers, seas and other water sources.

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