From the Field: Plastic Waste: Stop Killing Our Oceans

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Date Aired: March 21

Plastic Bags Found in the Stomachs of Sea Birds: 1 Million Affected Annually

8 million tons of plastic waste, made up of everyday items such as PET bottles and plastic bags, pollute our seas annually. We will report on the severe devastation that this is causing. For our first report, we will discuss the reality in which 1 million birds are killed per year from plastic waste. What is going on in the ocean?

An American student witnessed something heartbreaking on the beach of Costa Rica. There was a sea turtle with something stuck in its nose.

The student keeps trying…

The sea turtle is getting weaker and weaker… but then they finally pulled it out. It was a plastic straw, 15cm in length. It is plastic waste like this that kills 100,000 turtles and dolphins per year.

“You see a lot of seabirds flying around, but the reality is that many birds are found dead all around the world from eating plastic.” (Ayumu Toyoshima, Reporter)

Dr. Jan van Franeker said sea birds are ingesting plastic at an unbelievable scale.

Is that true? Dr. van Franeker selected one northern fulmar at random. He opened up the bird’s insides and found a hard, black object.

“On average, 0.3 grams of plastic waste can be found from within a sea bird’s stomach. The human equivalent is this much.” (Ayumu Toyoshima, Reporter)

The plastic takes up room within the birds’ stomachs, leaving no room for food, starving them to death. Similar reports have been received from around the globe, and exceeds a reported 1 million deaths per year.

Dr. van Franeker found these items in the stomachs of short-tailed albatross on the Hawaiian Islands. Toothbrush, golfballs… these plastic items discarded by humans are taking the lives of marine life worldwide. Turtles from the Mediterranean Sea who mistake plastic bags for jelly fish, dolphins from Scotland, sea birds all around the globe…

Dr. van Franeker warns that the threat from plastic waste will only worsen.

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