toxins from plastic pollution impacting health of seabirds, scientists say - highly absorbent material
Scientists say plastic pollution has a greater impact on seabirds than previously thought.
Marine life may suffocate by plastic, but researchers from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO)
The tests show that toxins absorbed by plastic are transferred to animals that take in plastic, Have said.
Professor Richard Banati rented a ship from Hobart to the Yukon in Sydney, where he searched for plastic products.
The collected plastics are used to study the effects of contaminants on marine life and the food chain.
The Yukon docked at the Black River port south of Sydney on Thursday and will start fishing at Sydney Harbour on Monday.
Professor Banati said ANSTO has data showing signs of health damage, biological mutations and fertility problems in birds eating large amounts of plastic.
"Of course, fertility is affected by malnutrition," he said . "
He says there are some birds with high levels of albinism and stress hormones.
"We do have data showing that a lot of plastic animals will also transfer these contaminants to birds," he said . ".
Professor Banati said that ANSTO has seen a decline in the number of seagulls, which is considered the result of plastic contamination. "[It]
"This is a good indication that the population may be threatened or that the system as a whole is unstable," he said . ".
Professor Banati said that by analyzing the chest feathers and stomach contents of migratory seabirds, toxins can be traced back to plastic.
Plastic has a strong absorption capacity for heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic, which makes plastic highly toxic, he said.
Studies have shown that when a bird eats plastic, it degenerates, not just sitting in the stomach of a bird.
These heavy metals were then released into the biological system of birds.
Professor Banati said the nuclear science method used allowed researchers to trace plastics back to producers.
This forensic approach has the potential to hold producers and consumers accountable for pollution.
"We are trying to develop a way to collect evidence from plastics," he said . ".
"When we find plastic, we can track it down.
"Because traceability allows us to make decisions.
"Professor Banati hopes that ANSTO's ongoing research on plastics will pave the way for future research on plastics that affect the genetic composition of birds.
"We would like to support the researchers who ended up asking questions: Is genetic material affected? " he said. Topics:water-pollution,port-hacking-2229,sydney-