An estimated 90 percent of sea birds have eaten plastic rubbish.
New Zealand’s diverse range of seabirds in peril as volume of flotsam keeps increasing.
The plastics we throw away have been mistakenly eaten by around 90 percent of all sea birds alive today – and the rate is expected to grow to 99 percent by 2050. The figures, revealed in an international study published yesterday, are particularly relevant for New Zealand, which is considered the global centre of seabird diversity.
The ingested plastics included bags, bottle caps and plastic fibres from synthetic clothes, which had washed out into the ocean from urban rivers, sewers and waste deposits. Birds mistook the brightly coloured items for food, or swallowed them by accident, which caused gut impaction, weight loss and sometimes death.