In photos:

In photos: Drowning in plastics

02 Jul 2021


  • plastic
  • marine pollution
  • marine species
  • marine turtles

It’s no news that plastic is deadly. It’s littering our sidewalks, finding its way to riverbeds, onto beaches and into delicate ocean ecosystems. It has no boundaries - plastic waste that’s discarded in one area of the world can find its way to the other side of the globe via our ocean currents.

Plastics have become a convenient necessity in our everyday lives. After all, they’re made to be durable and last longer than a lifetime. But unfortunately, most plastic products are made to be used just once before they’re thrown away. This is costing our environment.

Every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form today, whether whole or broken down into smaller, unidentifiable pieces. Not only that but often the breakdown process releases dangerous toxic chemicals.

This is bad news for marine wildlife. Vulnerable animals like turtles and whales can get entangled in fishing nets, plastic bags, balloons and more. Many animals can also suffocate or starve when they mistake plastics for food.

That’s why it’s so important that we ensure nature doesn’t go to waste and urge our politicians to end the 10 worst single-use plastics now.

See the devastating impact of plastics on our wildlife across the globe in this photo gallery.




Thorny seahorse and a plastic straw in the ocean © Shutterstock / Krzysztof Bargiel / WWF

A thorny seahorse observes a plastic straw found lying on the sea bed.



Common Sydney octopus (Octopus tetricus) found with duct / adhesive tape stuck to its suckers at Bare Island, La Perouse © Danika Head / WWF-Aus

A common Sydney octopus found with duct tape stuck to its suckers at Bare Island, La Perouse.


Jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca) trapped in plastic. Kornati, Croatia © WWF-Adria / Matko Pojatina

The tentacles of this pretty pink jellyfish are trapped in plastic packaging in Komati, Croatia.



Dead bird and plastic bag floating in the ocean © Shutterstock / Krzysztof Bargiel / WWF

A dead bird floats on the surface of the ocean with a discarded plastic bag.



 Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) caught in fishing net on the island of Chiloe, Chile © / Enrique Lopez-Tapia / WWF

This Magellanic penguin is caught up in an abandoned fishing net as it struggles across the island of Chiloe, Chile.



White stork (Ciconia ciconia) caught in plastic rubbish at refuse dump, Spain © / John Cancalosi / WWF

The heartbreaking sight of a plastic bag suffocating a white stork at a landfill in Spain. 



Single-use plastic bag floating with a school of fish in a shallow reef © Shutterstock / John Cuyos / WWF

A single-use plastic bag floats in a shallow reef with a school of fish. Plastic that is eaten by fish can work its way up the food chain and onto our plates. On average, humans consume approximately 5 grams of plastic each week - equivalent to the weight of a credit card. 



Plastic bag on coral head. Indo-Pacific Ocean © Jürgen Freund / WWF

A plastic bag finds its way onto a coral head in the Indo-Pacific Ocean.



Giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) adult playing with plastic bottle, Pantanal, Pocone, Brazil © / Paul Williams / WWF

A giant otter plays with a plastic bottle in Brazil.



A Hawksbill turtle and a plastic bag in Similan Islands, Thailand © Shutterstock / Krzysztof Bargiel / WWF

An endangered Hawksbill turtle navigates the ocean dodging a plastic bag in Similan Islands, Thailand.



Green turtle hatchling climbing over plastic bottle strewn on the beach,  Juani Island, Tanzania © Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK

Even newly hatched sea turtles are battling plastic pollution. This little turtle hatchling climbs over a plastic bottle as it attempts to reach the ocean on Juani Island, Tanzania.



A lionfish with a plastic bag in the ocean © Shutterstock / Rich Carey / WWF

A lionfish considers a plastic bag as it drifts along the ocean floor.


SEA STARS (starfish)

Starfish (Fromia monilis) stuck on a plastic calculator trashed near Banda Neira, Indonesia © Jürgen Freund / WWF

A starfish finds itself attached to an old plastic calculator that’s been trashed near Banda Neira, Indonesia.


Don’t let nature go to waste. Urge our Australian politicians to ban the 10 worst single-use plastics today.

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