Plastic: It’s What’s for Breakfast

Seabirds study shows plastic pollution reaching surprising levels off coast of Pacific Northwest.

The study, published online in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, examined stomach contents of  beached northern fulmars on the coasts of British Columbia, Canada, and the states of Washington and Oregon, U.S.A.

Because this type of research has been ongoing over the last four decades, there is a known baseline for comparison.  And its not pretty.  These birds ingest and retain plastics as they forage for food at sea.  The plastics remain in their stomachs for a long time.

The research group performed necropsies on 67 beached northern fulmars and found that 92.5 per cent had plastics — such as twine, Styrofoam and candy wrappers — in their stomach. An average of 36.8 pieces per bird were found. The average total weight of plastic was 0.385 grams per bird. One bird was found with 454 pieces of plastic in its stomach.

What effect does our trash have on the life of the sea?  How are we hurting both nature and our food production by dumping toxic waste into our rivers?  How much of this trash is littering by humans, how much comes from ships?

And can we clean it up?

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