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Nine of 10 seabirds thought to have ingested platic

Fern Davies

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As many as nine out of 10 of the world's seabirds likely have pieces of plastic in their guts, a new study estimates. The study modeled marine debris to update earlier findings, combining computer simulations of locations of the garbage and the birds, as well as their eating habits, to see where the worst problems are. Denise Hardesty, lead author, found that the biggest problem  isn't where there's the most garbage, such as the infamous garbage patch in the central north Pacific Ocean. Instead it's where there's the greatest number of different species, especially in the southern hemisphere near Australia and New Zealand. "Areas around North America and Europe are better off, she said. By reducing plastic pellets, Europe is even seeing fewer of those plastic bits in one key bird, the northern fulmar, she said. Some species of albatross and shearwaters seem to be the most prone to eating plastic pieces."


The paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 


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