Let us, for a moment, ignore the fact that some people throw garbage on the streets, in the forests and that they avoid the garbage can as much as possible. But throwing junk in the water has always been a rather odd development. Water sustains life in all of its forms. Not only us, but fish, birds and other beings that live on the planet. Throwing garbage in the water endangers all these species and experts firmly believe that things are not getting any better.
Seabirds are some of the creatures that are most endangered. There has been a picture circulating on the internet in the last years with a dead seabird and among its bones there was only garbage, garbage that was eaten and garbage that eventually led to the bird’s demise. But that is only one example, only one shocking photo that reveals a darker and larger truth that many of us seem to ignore.
A group of scientists wanted to properly investigate the matter and see how bad things really are. Experts from Australia’s most esteemed science body, CSIRO, teamed up with Imperial College London and estimated that approximately 90% of today’s seabirds have plastic in the stomachs. But that is only the beginning. The percentage is expected to up to 99% by the end of 2050.
It is a matter of education, evolution and adaptation. Seabirds, like humans, have babies which they eventually take on trips so they can learn about the world. If mommy bird is going to eat some plastic, baby bird will do so, too. And the process will repeat itself. Baby will later become a mommy, which will have another baby in turn and, in time, seabirds will find eating plastic quite normal.
The issue is that, while eating plastic might become a normality, it will also kill them, possibly driving seabirds extinct by the end of the century, something that could rather easily be avoided if people moved a few extra steps and throw everything in the garbage can or if the appointed workers did their jobs more effectively.
But the education and adaptation of man has reached a rather comfortable state. We are the superior species on the planet, after all, so we can do as we please and not exactly care about the wildlife. Seabirds are dying? Our bellies are full and we are quite happy about it.
So let’s not avoid the issue until we completely eradicate a species. Let’s make those extra steps and put the garbage in the trash can. And if we really want to be ignorant about it, let’s not think about the birds. Let’s think that we’re making some extra sport and we’re burning those calories that we get from our full tummies.
Photo Credits blogs.uw.edu