Plastic contamination is a serious problem that affects the environment and wildlife, including birds. Birds can become entangled in plastic garbage and suffer from it, impacting their functioning and even leading to death. In addition, bird species can suffer from ingestion of plastic debris, leading to impaired digestion and health complications. We must work together to reduce our plastic consumption and ensure safer environments for the wildlife.
They christened it ‘plasticosis’. The digestive tracts of many birds are affected by the ingestion of waste. This increases the risk of infections and their health. Plastic contaminates birds in unthinkable ways.
It is being studied by researchers at the Natural History Museum in London. In a paper published in the journal Journal of Hazard Materials this new disease is mentioned. Pieces of plastic that birds mistake for food and consume make them sick.
Damage to the system
The plasticosis is a type of fibrotic disease. It is caused by excessive scarring when an area of the body becomes repeatedly inflamed. This prevents the wound from healing normally. This reduces the flexibility of the tissues by changing their structure.
The stomach contents of seabirds in the South Pacific Ocean were analyzed. Especially in shearwaters from Lord Howe Island, Australia. “They are sick,” Dr. Alex Bond explained in a statement. He is curator in charge of birds at the Natural History Museum in London. “It’s the first time stomach tissue has been investigated in this way. It shows how plastic contaminates the birds and damages their digestive system,” he said.
The immune systems of birds that had consumed plastic were weakened. This increased the risk of infection and disease. Other inorganic elements found in the birds’ intestines, such as pumice stones, did not cause this negative effect.
The more plastic a bird consumes, the more scarring it exhibits. This would cause a gradual rupture of the tubular glands of the proventriculus. It is an organ of the digestive system of animals. The bird becomes more vulnerable to infections or parasites.
“Up to 90% of young birds contain at least some plastic given to them by their parents. Chicks can starve to death as their stomachs fill with plastic,” the researchers said.
It is likely that there are more species with plasticosis. There is a widespread environmental problem due to the use of this petroleum derivative. Plastic consumption in G20 countries will double by mid-century. Global policies are expected to reduce the use of this non-biodegradable material. According to the report, these changes are urgent. Otherwise, annual plastic consumption would reach 451 tons by 2050.