Plastic ingestion leads to disease in seabirds

Plasticosis can cause scarring in digestive tracts

Researchers have described a new disease in seabirds connected to the ingestion of too much plastic. Plasticosis can affect birds of any age, including baby chicks that often feed on the regurgitated food from their parents. The disease, which scientists described after studying flesh-footed shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) in Australia, causes scarring in the digestive tracts. The scarring can cause tubular glands to break down in the upper parts of the digestive tract, which can affect their digestion and make them more vulnerable to diseases. Over time, plasticosis can affect survival and growth of birds.

Read more in The Guardian.

Header Image: Researchers found plastic caused scarring in the digestive tracts of flesh-footed shearwaters in Australia. Credit: Ed Dunens