Scientists have discovered a new disease in wild seabirds. It is caused exclusively by plastic pollution. WION notes that the study has so far been limited to one species of birds in one geographical area. But experts have no doubt that, given the level of plastic pollution, plasticosis can affect birds all over the world.
Take a look around. You’re bound to see something made of plastic. It could be a remote control, a cell phone, or even a pen. Plastic is everywhere. It has become so ingrained in our lives that it is affecting the health of animals and people.
Scientists have found a new disease in wild birds. It is caused exclusively by plastic pollution. It’s called plasticosis. This disease is caused by small plastic particles and leads to inflammation of the digestive tract.
The study, published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, says that plastic pollution is becoming so widespread that negative effects have been found in birds of all ages. Presumably, seabirds ingest plastic along with fish and then mistakenly feed it to their chicks.
Scientists say this is the first recorded case of fibrosis in wildlife caused specifically by plastic. Over time, persistent inflammation leads to scarring and tissue deformities. It’s harder for birds to digest food and develop fully, which affects their ability to survive.
Scientists noticed that birds that ingested more plastic had more scarring on the first part of the stomach. This disease can lead to the gradual destruction of their tubular glands, the loss of which makes the birds more vulnerable to infections and parasites and affects their ability to digest food and absorb vitamins.
So far, scientists have only been able to study one bird species in one corner of the world. But they believe other species around the world are also suffering from plastic pollution. So more research is needed to find out how widespread plasticosis is.
Unfortunately, they believe that exposure of all living organisms to plastic is inevitable. As plastic emissions are increasing, and this type of pollution is becoming more common every day.