North Highland College's Environmental Research Institute undertook a four-year project to monitor seabird populations.
They acquired information from observers who visited colonies in the northwest of Europe. Thousands of nests contained plastic trash, according to the researchers. The trash, according to the experts, might represent a severe hazard to seabirds.
Studying Seabird Nests
The researchers looked at 10,274 nests in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands. Plastic debris was found in 12% of them.
Between 2016 and 2020, they collected data from 84 colonies of 14 different seabird species. The Atlantic puffin was the most impacted species, with plastic found in 67 percent of its nests.
Dr. Neil James, a post-doctoral research associate at the Environmental Research Institute and one of the scientists participating in the experiment, said:
"Marine plastic pollution is a growing global environmental problem that puts marine biodiversity at risk. Because of the potential of entanglement or ingestion, seabirds are particularly vulnerable.
Plastics Found in Nests
Plastic trash was detected in a substantial proportion of nests, with certain species being more prone to add it than others. This sort of study can thus offer significant insights on the presence of plastic in the marine environment, in addition to giving crucial information about our seabird populations."
A different group of experts looked into the impact of plastic on birds in a prior study. They discovered that the material accumulates in the animals' bodies. The compounds from the plastic end up at thousands of times higher quantities than usual in their fatty tissues and liver.
By 2050, it is expected that 99 percent of seabirds would have ingested plastic trash. Birds mistake floating plastic for food, consume it and are injured or killed as a result.
Birds and Plastic Pollution
According to a recent study, plastic pollution can build up in the bodies of seabirds, increasing the risks they encounter in the wild.
Birds have probably been researched more than any other animal group when it comes to ingesting plastic. The first reports of plastic fragments within seabirds originate from the 1960s, and research conducted between 1962 and 2012 indicated that 59 percent of the seabird species studied had eaten plastics
In addition, plastics were found in the guts of nearly one-third of the people tested (29 percent). When more plastic is introduced to the water, models suggest that the rate of plastic ingestion increases.
Birds Ingesting Plastics
To investigate the direct consequences of plastic exposure, researchers gave plastic pellets to nesting chicks. As a result, plastic compounds were detected in the liver and fatty tissues of the birds at quantities hundreds of times greater than usual. Similar findings were discovered after wild seabirds, particularly albatrosses, were monitored.
According to the researchers, pollution is a "pervasive and rising hazard," with almost half of the world's seabird species in decline and 28% classified as internationally vulnerable.
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