The Problem with Plastic
Sometimes it seems as if there is no end to the damage that humans do to wildlife. Our tendency to litter the landscape is certainly as issue which needs to be addressed. The rubbish littering our coastline is killing marine wildlife and biggest problem is plastic.
It is predicted that 99% of our native seabirds will have plastic in their stomachs by 2050. In a recent Greenpeace study, plastic rubbish was found on all 30 beaches that they visited in the UK. Now trapped, sick, struggling and dead birds have become a common sight. Trash is a fact of life for our marine wildlife but we could all help to improve the situation.
Seabirds and Plastic
Seabirds are often tempted to eat plastic because the algae which accumulates on this type of rubbish smells like the krill which many species feed on. Unfortunately, both the oceans and our beaches feature huge volumes of bottles, bags, packaging and plastic fragments. Much of which really didn’t need to be there.
Oceans of Plastic
Even uninhabited islands are impacted by rubbish. These areas are otherwise havens for wildlife but huge volumes of trash are washing up on the shores of the islands. A lorry load of plastic enters the ocean every hour and so urgent action is required to start reversing the trend. Drinks companies are being called upon to take action regarding their bottles as their products result in billions of single-use bottles being cast aside. Deposit schemes for bottles could help to encourage consumers to dispose of their plastic more responsibly.
Charges for carrier bags have seen a huge reduction in the number used by consumers and so there is evidence that much can be done to reduce the amount of plastic which is thrown away.
600 Species Affected
Marine litter is a hazard to 600 different species and there could be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050. The plastic soaks up toxic chemicals from seawater and then poisons the creatures which eat it. The plastic can also get trapped in animals’ throats, damage their stomach linings or cause them to starve by filling their stomachs so they don’t feel hungry enough to eat.
Life Without Plastic
Our everyday lives involve so much plastic that it is hard to imagine life without it, but it is time that we tried to do just that. It is no good just relying on people to be more responsible regarding waste disposal. It is crucial that better practices are encouraged but it could also prove vital to find viable alternatives to plastics for our everyday needs.
Just think about how much plastic you have handled in the last week and you will get some idea of the scale of the problem. Birds, mammals and fish are all suffering and plastic is one of the biggest killers of marine wildlife across the globe.