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Eco / Enviro

 

September 29, 2018 - GruntVegan

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About 40% to 90% of Sea Birds Riddled With Toxic Plastic

About 40% to 90% of Sea Birds Riddled With Toxic Plastic

This photo by Claire Fackler, of NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Hawaii, shows the contents of an albatrosse's stomach.

Scientists have found birds with over 250 pieces of plastic and other man-made objects in their stomachs rendering some too heavy to fly according to The Telegraph.

Earlier this year The National Academy of Sciences reported: "Plastic pollution in the ocean is a rapidly emerging global environmental concern, with high concentrations (up to 580,000 pieces per km2) and a global distribution, driven by exponentially increasing production. Seabirds are particularly vulnerable to this type of pollution and are widely observed to ingest floating plastic."

"In 2015, a study by Australian and British scientists determined that 90 percent of seabirds living today have ingested some form of plastic, mistaking it for food. If plastic consumption continues at its current rate, 99 percent of seabirds will carry plastic in their guts by 2050." according to TruthOut.

Dr Jennifer Lavers who studies seabirds in the Tasmanian Sea tells The Telegraph: "Quite a number of years ago the average numbers of pieces of plastic per bird may have been closer to five pieces per bird but now it is more likely to be closer to 30 or 40 pieces per bird, so things are shifting."

In two other studies conducted by Japanese Universities from 2008 to 2016, they found: "About 40 percent of seabirds surveyed around the world had toxic substances derived from plastic waste in their bodies amid concern over marine plastic pollution, according to a recent study by two Japanese universities." according to The Japan Times.

Worldwide, 8300 million metric tons (Mt) of virgin plastics have been produced in the last 70 years, estimate researchers from the University of California and Georgia in a 2015 study. Of this, 79% or 6557 Mt  ends up in landfills or the natural environment, after 9% is recycled and 12% incinerated. This amount is expected to almost double by 2050 if current production and waste management trends continue.

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