Upsetting image of seal struggling sparks calls for complete ban on plastic bags
We already pay for plastic bags in shops but should they be banned outright?
An image of a seal with its head caught in a plastic bag has gone viral, sparking calls for single-use plastic carrier bags to be banned.
The photo shows the animal poking its face through a blue plastic bag above the surface of the water.
It was taken by local man Martyn Cannan at Brixham Harbour in Devon, England on Sunday.
Mr Cannan, who was out walking near the harbour, said that the seal caused caused a stir but eventually managed to free itself.
"We were watching the harbour and then the seal appeared caught up in the bag and started to attract a crowd," Mr Cannan told the Associated Press.
“I initially took the photo because we were going to contact a charity and ask for advice, but after about 15 minutes it popped back up and it had cleared the bag itself.”
The image was shared by Tor Bay Harbour Authority & Beaches, which said it showed "the risk of littering and the need for cleaner coasts".
Many who saw the image on Facebook have reacted angrily, with some calling for plastic bags to be banned to protect animals.
"Just bring in a policy by 2021, all plastic bags banned. Shops will use paper ones."
"Shops should use paper ones definitely they do in Spain and other European countries."
"UK Government are you listening .... Ban plastic bags, enforce paper bags."
"Poor seal. Humans are causing so much stress and harm to our wildlife."
"Our five year old knows not to put his rubbish anywhere but a bin, why are all these grown men and women struggling so much?!"
"This picture really does say it all, we are ruining our planet."
Mr Cannan said he hoped that the image would stop people in the local area from throwing plastic into the sea.
“When something like this happens in your own back yard, you realise that it’s happening here and now.”