How Plastic Affects Birds & Wildlife.
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.