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August 06, 2008

MULTIMEDIA: Laysan Albatross & Plastics - A Deadly Diet

Monterey Bay Aquarium, 06.01.08Albatross_montereybay_2

Of 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, about 200,000 die of starvation. The awful truth—in their searches of the ocean surface, albatrosses mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding Lego blocks, clothespins, plastic bag bits and a host of other man-made junk to their chicks. As a result, the large amount of plastic crowding the chick’s stomach leaves little room for food and liquid. The amount of plastic floating in our oceans has grown dramatically over the last fifty years. Anthony L. Andrady, a polymer chemist at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina says that plastic takes decades to break down on land, but even longer at sea because the water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays. “Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere.”

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This is very sad news. Humans are very irresponsible in containing their wastes to themselves. Imagine if this happens to us, that we will be feeding our kids with trash.

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