NZ Most Perilous Place for Seabirds
“Seabirds are more at risk of dying due to plastic in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world, new research presented to parliament has shown.” Eleanor Ainge Roy reports for The Guardian.
“New Zealand is considered “the seabird capital of the world”, according to the country’s Department of Conservation, with the northern royal albatross raising their chicks on the Otago Peninsula, unique species of oystercatchers on the Chatham Islands and more penguin species than any country in the world.”
“Rubbish that ends up in our seas has a far worse effect on seabird species than anywhere else in the world,” said Karen Baird from conservation group Forest & Bird.
“Even though we don’t have the most plastic pollution, we are unique in the world in having so many seabirds species. We also have the most threatened seabird species, many of which are found nowhere else.”
“Seabirds are particularly vulnerable to eating plastic because they are surface feeders, spotting food from the air and swooping down on it, scooping it up and swallowing it before the mistake is realised,” reports the article.
“Forest & Bird called on the government to ban single-use plastic bags and commit to further research into how marine life is affected by plastic in New Zealand waters,” writes Roy.
“In March, New Zealand signed up to the United Nations-led CleanSeas campaign to rid our oceans of plastic, and we accepted the Greenpeace petition seeking a ban on single use plastic bags,” said Associate environment minister Eugenie Sage.
“We are working on how to get rid of single use plastic bags but in the meantime it’s great that many retailers and supermarkets are showing leadership by phasing them out.”
Article Source: The Guardian, Eleanor Ainge Roy, July 3, 2018
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