Researchers studied flesh-footed shearwaters from Australia’s Lord Howe Island, finding that the more plastic a bird had ingested, the more scarring it had. Young birds were found to have the disease, with chicks thought to be fed plastic pollution by parents accidentally bringing it back in food. Natural materials found in the stomachs of birds, such as pumice stones, did not cause the same problems, leading scientists to label this a specifically plastic-caused disease.
The study, published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, is the first recorded instance of plastic-induced fibrosis in wild animals, with researchers calling for more research to investigate how widespread plasticosis is among other bird species. Plastic pollution is becoming so prevalent that the scarring was widespread across different ages of birds, and the exposure of all organisms to plastic is inevitable as plastic emissions increase globally.
The researchers said that the ingestion of plastic has far-reaching and severe consequences, many of which have not been widely studied. Though this is a new discovery, it is clear that plastic pollution is having a serious impact on the environment and the health of wildlife. Further research is needed to understand the full extent of this impact and to develop solutions to mitigate the damage caused by plastic pollution.
As individuals, we can take steps to reduce plastic pollution by reducing our consumption of single-use plastics, properly disposing of plastic waste, and supporting companies that use sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. It is important that we take action now to protect our planet and its inhabitants from the damaging effects of plastic pollution.
Globally, we produce 300 million tons of plastic every year, 78 percent of which is NOT reclaimed or recycled. Around 8.8 million tons of plastic get dumped into the oceans every year! 700 marine animals are faced with extinction due to the threat that plastic poses to them in the form of entanglement, pollution, and ingestion. 50 percent of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs. By 2050, 99 percent of all seabird species will have ingested plastic waste. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and if things go on business as usual, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
Read more about how companies like Facebook, Tupperware, Google, Dove, Budweiser, Carlsberg, and FIJI Water are working towards reducing plastic pollution. Places around the world like Tel Aviv, California, Baltimore, Scotland and many more are banning various single-use plastics and others that are coming up with creative ways to recycle and use plastic waste.
There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!
Wake Up And Smell The Climate Change Tee by Tiny Rescue: Climate Collection
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
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- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!
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