Seabirds which search for food in the Tasman Sea are mistaking plastic for food and are left to die on Lord Howe Island, just to the east of Australia. Surveys show that some birds stomachs held more than 50 pieces of plastic and in the latest survey one even contained more than 200!
The birds numbers are falling and Dr Lavers said “in last month’s survey 95 per cent of nesting shearwaters had some plastic in their stomachs and it was hard to find living chicks.” The sea floor is covered with dead marine life but laysan albatross brought plastic back to their nests and both adults and thier chicks died.
We should be more careful and aware of this issue. Dr Lavers also said ”This year we checked more than 200 nests and we found six chicks – one of them dead. We have to ask: ‘is this just a bad year, or is this population tanking?”’
According to Dr Lavers, Mercury, which is toxic to birds, was also found in the shearwaters. This week, a giant petrel was found at Lakes Entrance dead. A Bairnsdale vet, jason Wong, said a piece of plastic was found blocking its crop and styrofoam was in its stomach. He usually finds plastic in other dead seabirds as well.
So think about what you’re doing before you do it and what it will really do.
Cover image source: take3.org.au