The plastic problem

There is another type of pollution we didn't mention yesterday and that is plastic pollution. Can you think why plastic might be such a problem from wildlife, particularly when it ends up in the sea?

One of the main issues with plastic is that it does not degrade but can break down into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces may enter the food chain by being eaten or accidentally swallowed. Plastic in the ocean also attract other chemicals, leading to a build up of these, often causing cancers, fertility problems and longterm illness. Much of the plastic we use today is single use - plastic utlery or bottles that we use once and throw away. Once way to help reduce this ending up in the ocean is to recycle, but even better is not to buy or use it in the first place.

Looking at litter found on a beach clean this spring







Fishing net is another plastic that can lead to big problems in wildlife - as it gets wrapped around creatures damaging their limbs or choking them. We see this a lot in Alderney with out Gannets which sadly collect rope as nest material instead of ther natural rope.

Finally there is the problem of balloons. Have you ever been to a balloon release? People do not often think about where these balloons will go once they have been released and the answer is often - into the sea. There the balloon itself may be mistaken for jellyfish or food and seaten by marine mammals, turtles and seabirds. These can get caught up in their guts or just sit in the stomach (as we said they do not degrade) causing starvation. Balloons also often have a plastic string leading to further problems with tangling.


Could you live without plastic? That would be very difficult but maybe you could cut down the amount you use? You will be directly helping wildlife by living more sustainably!

By | 2018-04-19T09:43:53+00:00 July 12th, 2017|The Daily Digest, The Daily Digest 2017|0 Comments

About the Author:

Claire Thorpe - AWT
Claire studied biology at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2013. Her main focus became the ecology modules, leading to a dissertation on the effects non-native tree species can have on biodiversity. A year off included volunteering for the Wildlife Trust in the Scilly Isles and teaching English in China. Claire then completed her MSc in Conservation at UCL. Her thesis looked at the policy and objectives surrounding a marine protected area in Jamaica, and research involved interviews with politicians, researchers and community members. Post-graduation Claire worked for a natural health charity as their campaign coordinator, gaining experience in article writing, social media and communications.

Leave A Comment