5-speed listening (Plastic Pollution - Level 6)

Birds' stomachs too full of plastic to eat



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A BBC team has filmed disturbing footage of the devastating impact plastic pollution is having on seabirds in the Tasman Sea, which is between Australia and New Zealand. The film crew was working on the remote Lord Howe Island for a new wildlife documentary called "Drowning in Plastic". They filmed many birds that had died because their stomachs were literally too full of plastic to be able to eat any food. The birds starved to death because there was no room in their stomachs for food. The documentary team filmed marine biologists working on the island to try and save the birds. The scientists captured hundreds of chicks and physically removed plastic from their stomachs to give them a chance of survival.

Marine biologist Jennifer Lavers explained what was happening to the birds. She said the birds were predators that will eat anything. She said: "When you put plastic in the ocean, it means they have no ability to detect plastic from non-plastic, so they eat it." Adult birds feed the plastic to their chicks, oblivious to what they are feeding them. Professor Lavers lamented that most of the plastic is "entirely preventable". She said: "We find plastic clothes pegs and plastic tooth brushes. Those could easily be swapped out for other materials - aluminium or wood. My own toothbrush is made of bamboo." TV presenter Liz Bonnin said: "We saw...90 pieces of plastic come out of one of the chicks."

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Plastic Pollution - Level 4  |  Plastic Pollution - Level 5

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