05 Jul '12, 9pm

Scientists make depressing discovery about oceanic plastic pollution using depressing research technique

Scientists make depressing discovery about oceanic plastic pollution using depressing research technique

An as-yet unhelpful scientific indicator. (Photo by Jason Crotty .) One of the best ways to determine how much plastic is polluting a region of the ocean is, unfortunately, to autopsy dead birds in the region. One species of bird in particular, the Northern fulmar, eats nearly anything, rarely regurgites plastic and is populous enough to die in large numbers over a broad area. So scientists scour the beach for dead Northern fulmars and cut them open. Fun. What they’ve found recently suggests a massive increase in the amount of plastic these birds are ingesting in the Pacific Northwest. From the Globe and Mail : Necropsies of 67 of the beached gull-like seabirds collected between October 2009 and April 2010 from the coasts of B.C., Washington and Oregon indicated nearly 93 per cent of them had bellyfuls of plastic, she said. One bird had 454 pieces of plastic in its gut, sa...

Full article: http://grist.org/news/scientists-make-depressing-discover...

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