Photo Gallery of Plastic Bags in the Environment

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Pictures of plastic bag litter on land and in the oceans from around the world.

You may also wish to visit this related pages:
Movies of plastic bags and marine mammals

Images of minimally thicker plastic shopping bags

Images of produce bags

On Land

Shore bird trapped in a bag

Stork trapped in a bag

A European white stork trapped in a plastic bag at a garbage dump in Andalucía, Spain. Photo by John Cancalosi.

Hawk nest containing plastic debris

A shopping bag is wrapped around ankle of young hawk. Taken May, 2012 in Washington Square Park, New York City.

Cow Eating a Bag

The cow may be eating this because it resembles vegetation.

Bags caught in tree branches

Plastic bags and plastic films in trees are a unique form of litter. Lightweight HDPE shopping bags are most commonly found.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron at Earl Brown Park in DeLand, Florida. A fish swam into a water-filled plastic bag in the pond. The fish's movement in the bag caught the heron's eye and in a flash it speared the fish with its bill. Photo by Andrea Westmoreland.

Sea Life

Sea Lion eating a bag.

Baby Otter trapped in a bag

Taken at Elkhorn Slough, Monterey, California. Photo by Terry McCarmac.

Sea Turtle eating a bag

Turtles swallow plastic carryout bags since they resemble their main food source, jellyfish. Photo of Green Sea Turtle by Ron Prendergast, a staff member of the Melbourne Zoo, Australia.


Plastic bags can kill coral by covering and suffocating the living polyps from which coral is made, or by blocking sunlight needed by the coral to survive.


Deep-sea currents wrapped this plastic bag around a deep-sea gorgonian coral 2,115 meters (almost 7,000 feet) below the ocean surface in Astoria Canyon, off the Coast of Oregon. Image: ©2006 MBARI

Bag on Artic Sea Floor

Plastic bags do not biodegrade and can last for hundreds of years. Above is an image of a plastic shopping bag on the Arctic seafloor taken by the Ocean Floor Observation System (OFOS) in the Hausgarten area in July 2012 (click image to expand - ©Alfred Wegener Institute)


A camel that died in the United Arab Emirates from a bezoar, in this case a calcified mass of plastics, primarily bags. Hundreds of camels die from starvation each year from ingesting plastic bags left behind in the desert according to Dr. Ulrich Wernery, scientific director at the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai.