At the Houston Zoo, the invasive species polyethylene lapides sacculi—otherwise known as plastic bag—has disappeared.
Visitors began to notice a drop-off in sightings in July, when zoo officials decided to implement a pilot program to allow patrons to use their own reusable bags when making gift shop purchases. The zoo is also home to canvas bags with images of animals that benefit from a reduction of plastic bags in the ocean, including sea lions, sea turtles, and soon, pelicans.
The species displacement of approximately 80,000 plastic bags in the Houston area ecosystem could have a domino effect. There are roughly 3.15 billion pounds of plastic—much of it some species of bag—in our oceans right now. If reusable bags continue to displace plastic bags in the environment, that number will diminish, possibly resulting in polyethylene lapides sacculi being placed on the endangered species list.
Read the Houston Zoo’s report
Top photo: Plastic bags in the wild, by Jonathan Kos-Read / Foter / CC BY-ND