HomeNewsBy 2050, more than 99% of seabirds will eat plastic

Since 1950, plastic production has doubled every 11 years. Only a small part of it ends up in the ocean, but it is about 300,000 tons per year, according to current rates. Every square kilometer of the water's surface contains 600,000 pieces of broken plastic, especially in five areas known as "Ocean Garbage Patch". More than 80 species of seabirds, seeing colorful pieces, take them for food and eat more and more every year. Australian scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO, Hobart, Australia), led by marine ecologist Chris Wilcox, found that in 2014, 90% of individuals of these bird species consumed plastic .

Scientists came to this conclusion by analyzing 186 oceanic bird species from 42 populations (the bulk of the species), including albatrosses, petrels, gulls and penguins, and comparing with the numbers the concentration of plastic drifting in the ocean, the increase in its production and the increase in the number of birds that eat it ( each year the figure is increased by 0.2%.

A report Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that by 2050, 99.8% of birds studied will eat plastic. Compounding the problem, some plastics absorb and concentrate environmental pollutants that enter the bird's digestive tract. Most of them ingest huge pieces of plastic that linger in the stomach and the bird can no longer eat, dying of hunger.

A study published in 2012 by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity found that birds are not the only victims: more than 600 species from microorganisms to whales have been affected by plastic litter, mostly from consumption but sometimes from entanglement in old fishing nets.

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Victoria Shurupova Victoria Shurupova

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