This post was originally published on this site

SUVA: From endangered freshwater dolphins drowned by discarded fishing nets to elephants scavenging through rubbish, migratory species are among the most vulnerable to plastic pollution, a United Nations report on the Asia-Pacific region said on Tuesday, calling for greater action to cut waste.

Plastic particles have infiltrated even the most remote and seemingly pristine regions of the planet with tiny fragments discovered inside fish in the deepest recesses of the ocean and peppering Arctic sea ice.

The paper by the UN’s Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals focused on the impacts of plastic on freshwater species in rivers and on land animals and birds, which researchers said were often overlooked victims of humanity’s expanding trash crisis.

It said that because these creatures encounter different environments – including industrialized and polluted areas – they are likely at risk of higher exposure to plastics and associated contaminants.

Researchers cited estimates that 80 percent of the plastic that ends up in the oceans originates on land – with rivers thought to play a key role in carrying debris out to sea.

The report comes just days ahead of a major summit of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which will include a motion calling for an end to marine plastic pollution by 2030.

“Actions to address this global issue have fallen far short of what is needed,” said CMS Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel.

.ivs-container {
padding-bottom: 56.25%;
position: relative;
background: lightgray;
margin-bottom: 20px;
}

.ivs-container > ivs-player {
position: absolute;
top: 0;
left: 0;
bottom: 0;
right: 0;
}

“The focus has thus far been on cleaning up our oceans, but that is already too late in the process. We need to focus on solutions and prevention of plastic pollution upstream.”

The UN report highlights two regions – the Ganges and Mekong River basins – which together contribute an estimated 200,000 tons of plastic pollution to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean every year.

Discarded fishing gear were found to be major threats. Dolphins can become entangled and trapped underwater by old nets with endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and Ganges River dolphins at particular risk.

The report also said migratory seabirds, such as Black-footed albatrosses and Laysan albatrosses, may not be able to tell plastic from prey when flying over the ocean and can accidentally eat floating debris.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *