Plastic Pollution Is Making Seabirds Smaller And Sicker

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Photo by Friends of the Earth

Story by CNN

Seabirds are becoming smaller, lighter and suffering from a litany of health problems after ingesting the plastic that litters the world’s oceans, a study has found.

Researchers analyzed blood samples from a population of flesh-footed shearwaters on Lord Howe Island, off the eastern coast of Australia, they found the birds were living with an alarming list of health conditions, including high cholesterol, after ingesting plastic debris.

The birds were physically smaller as a result of ingestion, the study showed, with shorter wings and bills and a lower body mass. Plastic also worsened their kidney function.

Seabird deaths due to consuming or becoming stuck in plastic are well-understood, the scientists from the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) said. But far less is known about the non-lethal impact of ingesting plastic, and how live birds with plastic in their bodies are affected. Read more>>

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