On short journey to the cinema recently, my children counted, no less than 37 plastic bags caught up in trees. Each bag counted raised their voices to an higher octave. I think they were disgusted at the amount of plastic debris and well aware of the risks to wildlife. I will tell you more about that in a moment.
|Supermarket carpark plastic bag tree!|
So, I did a quick metric and calculated that we had travelled 6 miles, so that's approx 6 bags/mile. If you take the distance between John O Groats to Lands End it is approx 603 miles and times that by 6 bags/mile you get a whopping total of 3612 bags and that's if you go in a stright line. Imagine if you travelled all the 2705 miles of road in the UK you might count up to a total of 16236. That is alot of plastic floating around our small island. Of course you might say that the roads in the countryside will have less bags so my calculation may be grossly overestimated but then again city centres may have more than my estimated 6bags/mile so I could have grossly underestimated my sample size. Regardless of my statistical inexperience the fact remains that there are plastic bags floating about in trees, I've seen it with my own eyes (see the above picture). Not only do these bags get stuck in trees and verges, they also get into our water system. It's a sad fact that over 1 million plastic bags are consumed every minute globally and marine wildlife mistake them for food which kills them if consumed.
|Image from the Marine Conservation Website|
So what can we do help? Last year, through a series of happy encounters I was introduced to Morsbags. Morsbags is a global not-for-profit organisation. They are re-usable cloth bags made by volunteers using donated recycled fabrics, such as curtains and remnants, and given away free to the public at various local events. The idea is to encourage the use of re-usable bags instead of plastic carrier bags. Leicestershire, where I live, is a morsbag making hotspot, having made and given away over 25 000. Last year I started my own local group and so far, our small group, has made 60 bags, most of which have been given away.
|The day we caught a plastic bag in St Ives!|
|They're very easy to make!|