90 per cent seabirds have consumed plastic: Study
Nearly 90 per cent of individual seabirds alive today have consumed some form of plastic and about 60 per cent of them, including albatrosses,...
Melbourne: Nearly 90 per cent of individual seabirds alive today have consumed some form of plastic and about 60 per cent of them, including albatrosses, shearwaters and penguins, have plastic in their guts, estimates a new study. The analysis of studies published since the early 1960s showed that plastic is increasingly common in seabirds' stomachs.
In 1960, plastic was found in the stomachs of less than 5 per cent of seabirds; by 2010 that figure had risen to 80 per cent. Based on current trends, the scientists predict that plastic ingestion will affect 99 per cent of the world's seabird species by 2050. The plethora of plastic comes from bags, bottle caps and plastic fibres from synthetic clothes that have washed out into the ocean from urban rivers, sewers and waste deposits.
Birds mistake the brightly coloured items for food or swallow them by accident, causing gut impaction, weight loss and sometimes death, the study said. "Improving waste management can reduce the threat plastic is posing to marine wildlife," Denise Hardesty, who also works at CSIRO, noted.