How Plas­tic Af­fects Birds & Wildlife.

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

Neelz Singh, Lami

If you have ever walked the beach af­ter a high tide on an early morn­ing or af­ter­noon, you can see the rem­nants of our “throw it away” so­ci­ety – rub­bish scat­tered ev­ery­where.

It's not new in­for­ma­tion that our oceans are full of garbage. While there are no cur­rent fig­ures of ex­actly how much garbage is in there, they end up on beaches as well. My trip to the beach saved a bird that was strug­gling with plas­tic and part of a fish­ing line tan­gled around the bird's feet and neck. It was hard to catch, but I man­aged to gen­tly re­move the fish­ing line and a torn plas­tic bag that was mak­ing this bird's neck and feet hurt.

Bits of plas­tic lit­ter the shore­line in­clud­ing bot­tle caps, toys, cigarette lighters, fish­ing lines and other garbage. Sci­en­tists are now doc­u­ment­ing how this surge of plas­tic trash leaves a wake of death and dis­ease that di­rectly af­fects seabirds, in­clud­ing our indigenous and en­demic species.

What we know:

Plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles take 450 years to de­com­pose;

Fish­ing lines and nets can take up to 600 years to de­com­pose; and Plas­tic bags or bal­loons in the ocean are dan­ger­ous (they can look like a jel­ly­fish meal to a sea tur­tle).

What we all can do:

Re­duce our use of dis­pos­able plas­tic prod­ucts;

Re­use and re­cy­cle what we can; Buy re­us­able gro­cery bags to cut down on plas­tic bag use;

Pick up lit­ter or rub­bish if you can to help clean our en­vi­ron­ment; Vol­un­teer for beach and stream cleanups;

Re­mind oth­ers not to throw rub­bish any­where they feel like.

In many ar­eas of the globe, birds in­ad­ver­tently feed on plas­tic float­ing on the wa­ter, mis­tak­ing it for food, and many times this in­ges­tion leads to death and even the death of their young. Aside from just look­ing dis­gust­ing, all of this garbage poses a se­ri­ous threat to wildlife that ei­ther con­fuses it as food or con­sumes it ac­ci­den­tally.

Un­til this des­per­ately-needed solution comes, it is on all of us to re­duce the amount of lit­ter gen­er­ated so that it does not end up in the mouths or around the necks of birds and ma­rine species.

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