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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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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
New appointment at Dechra

Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd (Dechra) has announced a key appointment to support veterinary professionals across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Karen Hockley has been appointed as a telesales account manager and will provide the latest products, news and developments from Dechra. She joins the company from a large mixed practice in Northern Ireland where she was the branch manager.

Before that, Karen had worked for a multinational veterinary pharmaceutical company as a key account manager for Northern Ireland. She can be contacted at karen.hockley@dechra.com or 087 219 54 30.