Effect of Microplastics on Birds
What are Microplastics
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that are less than 5mm in size. They can be found in the environment, including in the air, water, and soil. Birds can ingest microplastics through their food, water, or the air they breathe.
What Effect do Microplastics Have on Birds
The effects of microplastics on birds are not fully understood, but there is evidence that they can be harmful. Microplastics can:
- Block the bird’s digestive system, leading to malnutrition and starvation.
- Damage the bird’s internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys.
- Absorb toxins from the environment, which can then be passed on to the birds that ingest them.
- Interfere with the bird’s hormones and immune system, making them more susceptible to disease.
- Reduce the bird’s ability to fly and reproduce.
The exact effects of microplastics on birds will vary depending on the amount of plastic ingested, the type of plastic, and the bird’s species. However, the available evidence suggests that microplastics can be a serious threat to bird health and survival.
What does the Research Say?
Here are some specific examples of the effects of microplastics on birds:
- A study of fulmars in the North Sea found that 80% of the birds had ingested microplastics. The birds with the highest levels of microplastics had lower body weights and were more likely to be underweight.
- A study of shearwaters in New Zealand found that the birds with the highest levels of microplastics had lower levels of testosterone and were more likely to have reproductive problems.
- A study of penguins in Antarctica found that the birds with the highest levels of microplastics had higher levels of inflammation and were more likely to be sick.
These are just a few examples of the many studies that have shown the harmful effects of microplastics on birds. It is clear that microplastics are a serious threat to bird health and survival.
What can I do to Help Reduce Effect of Micro Plastic Pollution on Birds?
Here are some things that can be done to reduce the impact of microplastics on birds:
- Reduce the use of single-use plastics.
- Recycle plastics whenever possible.
- Dispose of plastics properly.
- Avoid littering.
- Clean up beaches and other areas where birds live.
- Support organizations that are working to reduce plastic pollution.
By taking these steps, we can help to protect birds from the harmful effects of microplastics.