99 per cent of birds to contain plastic by 2050, study says
Saturday, September 5, 2015, 5:43 PM - If waste production continues at the same rate, it’ll be a grim future ahead for marine wildlife and birds.
New research conducted by Australian scientists shows that nine out of ten of the world’s seabirds have likely consumed plastic in the past that remains in their digestive organs. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study showed that far more seabirds are impacted by marine debris than the former estimated figure of 29 per cent.
”In the next 11 years we will make as much plastic as has been made since industrial plastic production began in the 1950s,” said the study’s coauthor Denise Hardesty in an interview with The Guardian.
Hardesty added that birds often mistake plastic particles for fish eggs. “[T]hey think they’re getting a proper meal but they’re really getting a plastic meal.
The largest problem area is where the greatest number of species coexist, The Guardian reports. This is particularly the case in New Zealand and Australia, near the southern hemisphere.
Through her research, Hardesty told The Guardian she saw both a glow stick and three balloons in one short-tailed shearwater bird. In another, she found a cigarette lighter – she even reports finding toys inside birds.
Hardesty says her computer model forecasts that by 2050, 99 per cent of seabirds will have plastic in them.
Thumbnail image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.