published on 5 August 2019 in life

Ingesting plastic weakens sea birds

According to a study conducted by the University of Tasmania and published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, ingesting fragments of plastic is causing sea birds to become increasingly smaller, lighter and to suffer from a series of health issues such as high levels of cholesterol and kidney problems. The researches have analysed blood samples taken from a colony of Flesh-footed Shearwaters resident on Lord Howe Island, off the east coast of Australia, discovering that ingestion of microparticles and fragments of plastic has repercussions on the size and weight of newly hatched birds. Furthermore, it has been found that the young birds had a smaller wing span and suffered from a series of health complaints, such as increased cholesterol and heart problems.

The Flesh-footed Shearwater, a sea bird belonging to the Procellariidae family. Credits: enciclopedino.it

According to a study conducted by WWF, at least 90% of sea birds habitually ingest or have ingested plastic fragments: this is a very high percentage, which is easily explained by the enormous spread of plastic waste in our oceans. This study is extremely important because, for the first time, researchers have investigated long-term effects on birds’ diets linked to plastic pollution.

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