Monday 20th November comments: (Isle of May NNR). For those who watched the impressive Blue Planet II on Sunday night will have seen the problems of plastics in our seas & oceans but more importantly the impact it has on our wildlife.
It is considered that 8 million tonnes of plastic reach our seas every year and that amount is increasing annually. It’s a frightening statistic when you really think about it. Scientist believe that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050 and that the average person who eats seafood swallows up to 11,000 pieces of microplastic every year. Even our seabirds are affected with suggestions that 99% of the world’s seabirds will have eaten plastic at some stage in their lives.
You have to remember we are not just talking about the largest oceans and deepest seas but the areas we live. Just take a walk along your nearest beach and you’ll find evidence of plastics from cotton buds to bottles and polystyrene bits. It’s very evident and its’ causing serious problems.
Even out here, 6 miles out in the North Sea, the Isle of May NNR doesn’t escape the increasing problem. Every year we have various items washed up along the tideline and once removed, it is soon replaced on the next incoming tide. Even items people don’t consider as hazardous are some of the worst offenders. A good example would be balloons which we find at increasing regularity on the island and the impact can be devastating from birds being spooked off nests (and contents lost) to entanglement and death. We’ve seen it all and the problem is getting worse.
However there is some good news, some positivity’s coming out. As awareness of the problem increases attitudes and actions are being taken. We’ve stopped using as many bags in supermarkets, people are now reconsidering balloon releases and the use of daily plastic is being discussed. It’s a slow but positive step in the right direction and long may it continue.