The Courier-Mail

Scientists gutted as plastic takes toll on wildlife

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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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