The Marine Conservation Society of Britain is a charitable organization in the UK which took up the challenge of promoting conservation awareness in the UK’s Territorial Waters. Their report for the year 2007 shows that the threat of plastic pollution is still on the rise in spite of all the conservation and plastic re-processing efforts like the one in Ireland which has been hailed a success story in the short time that it has been in the works.
Truly, the plastic pollution crisis of our seas has become so much of a problem that even deserted islands like the former WW2 hotspot, the Midway Atoll are suffering from the scourge of plastics. The island of Midway, now a conservation site and sanctuary for migratory sea birds such as the two species of albatross that are suffering dearly with high chick mortality due to plastic ingestion. These albatross species are considered to be endangered in the US and Canada since 2002 and are further being decimated by the plastic pollution which wash up on shore as the atoll is located in between swirling sea currents. The adults collect food from the seas surrounding the islands and then feed their young sometimes regurgitating plastics, passing them on to their young. The chicks being fragile die from complications such as blocked digestive tracts and more side-effects of the ingested plastic leaving them to starve to death.
The breeding colonies that call the atoll home have considerably lost new additions to their populations due to the incidence of high chick mortality. Conservation efforts by the American and Canadian authorities are trying to help the birds get back on their normal breeding populations. The loss of a species from an ecosystem has wide and complicated implications, some of which we are beginning to understand like the demise of bees all over the world which is expected to impact global crop production which can lead to food shortages.
Originally posted on April 1, 2008 @ 5:03 am