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Seabirds in danger as thousands of nests contain plastic rubbish

Picture: Atlantic Puffin

Plastic debris has been found in thousands of seabird nests through North West Europe, a report has revealed.

A four-year-study into the growing problem says the rubbish is a serious threat to the birds.


Information was collated from 14 seabird species in 84 colonies between 2016 and 2020.

More than 10,270 nests were examined across the UK, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and the Faroe Islands – with 12% of them found to contain plastic debris.

Atlantic puffins were found to be the most affected species, with 67% of their nests found to contain plastic.

Dr Neil James said: “Marine plastic pollution is an increasing global environmental issue which poses a threat to marine biodiversity.

“Seabirds are particularly affected because of the risk of entanglement or ingestion.

“Our study found that a significant number of nests included plastic debris, with some species more likely to incorporate it than others.

“As well as providing important information about our seabird populations, this type of study can also reveal valuable insights into the prevalence of plastic in the marine environment.”

The results of the study are published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin



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