The Courier-Mail

Sci­en­tists gut­ted as plas­tic takes toll on wildlife


PLAS­TIC is now found in the stom­achs of 80 per cent of bird species, up from less than 5 per c cent in 1960.

CSIRO sci­en­tists said that, b by 2050, it would be found in 99 per cent of seabird species and 90 per cent of all seabirds alive to­day had eaten some k kind of plas­tic.

It is the first time sci­en­tists have made a global pre­dic­tion of how wide-reach­ing the plasti tic toll on marine species is.

They said Aus­tralia was one of the worst places for plas­tic pol­lu­tion and called on gov­ern­ments to take ac­tion.

CSIRO se­nior re­search sci­en­tist Chris Wil­cox said birds mis­took brightly coloured items for food, or swal­lowed them by ac­ci­dent.

This caused gut im­paction, weight loss and po­ten­tially death.

Plas­tic was found in about 20 marine species, in­clud­ing al­ba­trosses, shear­wa­ters, pen­guins, tur­tles, whales and crocodiles.

Lit­ter in­cluded bags, bot­tle caps and plas­tic fi­bres from syn­thetic clothes.

An En­vi­ron­ment Depart­ment sur­vey found 40 per cent of small tur­tles pass­ing through More­ton Bay off Bris­bane had eaten plas­tics, while 70 per cent of en­dan­gered small log­ger­heads had also ingested plas­tic.

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