New footage has been released that shows the true horror of plastic contamination. The video was shot for the BBC One documentary Drowning in Plastic. The documentary is set on the remote Lord Howe Island and includes graphic footage of plastic shards being picked out of the stomachs of Shearwater birds.
The video includes a team of biologists who are fighting for these island birds. The team collected hundreds of chicks to flush the plastic out of their stomachs and “give them a chance to survive”.
Lowe Howe Island, the nesting ground for these birds, is more than 600 kilometers off the coast of Australia.
Jennifer Lavers, a marine biologist who works with shearwater colony, provided her expertise:
“These birds are generalist predators. They’ll eat just about anything they’re given. That’s what’s allowed them to thrive – a lack of pickiness. But when you put plastic in the ocean, it means they have no ability to detect plastic from non-plastic, so they eat it.”
When the parent birds leave the nest to forage for nutritious food, the biologists step in and aid the baby chicks. The process includes shoving a plastic tube down the chick’s throat, flushing seawater into their stomach and have them regurgitate the consumed plastic. The scene is disturbing.
The series presenter Liz Bonnin explained how hard it was to see what she saw on Lord Howe Island:
“It was shocking to see how much would come out of one chick. We saw I think 90 pieces come out of one of the chicks on the second night. But the scientists were telling us they sometimes pull out 200 or 250 pieces of plastic out of dead birds or from the regurgitation. It’s obscene when you think about it.”
Shearwater birds are dying in mass amounts due to plastic pollution. The BBC brings about awareness of plastic pollution with the graphic footage.
Featured Image via Wikipedia