News / Environment
Friday, August 15, 2008
Laysan Albatross Suffers From Pollution

Plastic Waste In The Oceans Has A Huge Impact On Marine Birds

Recent reports both from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and now from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation in Monterey, California have indicated that many marine birds are facing a severe decline in their numbers of as much as 75% from species populations recorded 20 years ago. Much of the blame for this is being linked to global pollution in the oceans, such as plastic waste. This could continue to go unchallenged, but more marine biologists are becoming extremely worried about the state of pollution in the world's oceans and many bird species such as the Laysan Albatross (see photo) that lives on Midway Island in the North Pacific face extinction if humanity does not reverse its course soon.

The Laysan Albatross is a magnificent bird with a wingspan of 1.95-2.03 metres (6.4-6.7 feet) and they can live to be 40 years of age. What is causing the huge decline in their numbers is all of the plastic garbage, such as bottle caps, toothbrushes and other plastic objects that is now floating in the oceans of the world. The adult birds consume the plastic garbage mistakenly for squid or fish eggs that they normally find floating out on the ocean. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation reports that 40% of Laysan albatross chicks are now dying each year on Midway because the adult birds are flying back with items such as bottle caps, cigarette lighters, and other plastic garbage to feed to the chicks who then expire on stomachs full of plastic.

The fate of marine birds is part of a larger problem in which many other marine species are ingesting garbage and toxic chemicals in the oceans and seas that was never there 100 years ago. Many of the worlds rivers are now full of garbage and toxic pollution that flows into the oceans and seas, creating a devastating impact upon the entire Planet. Humanity is very dependent on the oceans and seas for oxygen and other life sustaining gases and a healthy biodiversity in these bodies of water is essential to our survival. Over the next few years humanity faces issues of severe escalations in pollution, non-sustainable utilisation of resources, and over-depletion of natural resources that requires an urgent coordinated change in direction by each individual in every Country on our Planet.

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