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Majority of seabirds have ingested plastic - study
Dr Alex Bond, RSPB senior conservation scientist, said solutions to this problem require “more concerted action at its source on land".
Report underlines major threat to marine life

A new report has found 74 per cent of seabirds in the northeastern Atlantic region have ingested plastic.

Scientists collated data from all known studies on plastic ingestion and nest incorporation in seabirds around Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Greenland, Svalbard, the Faroes and Iceland.

Marine plastic pollution is a growing environmental issue which poses a “major threat” to marine biodiversity, experts say.

Millions of tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year, and plastic production is on the rise. Seabirds can ingest it, become entangled in it, or incorporate it into their nests, with potentially negative consequences for reproduction and survival.

Dr Alex Bond, RSPB senior conservation scientist, said solutions to this problem require “more concerted action at its source on land - 80 per cent of marine litter is thought to come from land - especially by producers and users.”

Around half of all plastic products are single-use only, but plastic never breaks down - it breaks up into smaller fragments that stay in the environment.

“As its density varies, it can be found throughout the water column, increasing the number of species which come into contact with it,” Dr Bond explained.

The northeastern Atlantic Ocean is an area of international importance to seabirds, yet there has been little research on how marine plastic affects different species over time, and regionally.

Dr Nina O’Hanlon, from the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, said: “We actually know very little about the current prevalence of plastic ingestion and nest incorporation for many species, several, like the Long-tailed Duck and Atlantic Puffin, which are globally threatened.

“Only 49 per cent of the 69 species which are commonly found in the region have been investigated for plastic ingestion.”

Scientists say a multi-directional, coordination and collaborative effort is needed to gain a proper understanding of this issue.

 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.