Scientists have claimed balloons present a global threat to marine life, as they are 32 times more likely to kill seabirds than hard plastics if ingested.
Researchers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre examined the cause of death of 1,733 seabirds from 51 different species, concluding that one in three had ingested marine debris.
Whilst soft plastics, such as balloons, accounted for only five percent of the items ingested, they were responsible for nearly half (40 percent) of the deaths.
The leading cause of death was found to be blockage of the gastrointestinal tract, followed by infections or other complications caused by gastrointestinal obstructions.
Scientist Dr Wilcox said: "These two applications are the first time there has been a robust estimate of the impact of plastic ingestion on free-living marine species.
"This is a critical step in triggering action to address plastic pollution."
Leader of the study, Dr Lauren Roman, said: "If seabirds eat plastic their risk of mortality increases, and even a single piece can be fatal.
"While hard plastics are less likely to kill than soft plastics they were still responsible for more than half of the seabird deaths identified in our study.
"The evidence is clear that if we want to stop seabirds from dying from plastic ingestion, we need to reduce or remove marine debris from their environment, particularly balloons."
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.Reuse this content
Liam is a writer and poet from the north of England. His work has been featured in Gay Times Magazine, Attitude Magazine, Oh Comely, and The Huffington Post. He loves vegan mac and cheese more than anything else in the world.
Since you're here...
Plant Based News is a FREE service that receives millions of views each week on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, our weekly newsletter and this website. This takes a lot of our personal time, money and hard work. But we do it because we KNOW it makes a difference. If those following our reporting helped by contributing, we could do even more. Please consider supporting us so we can create further awareness about animal rights, environmentalism, ethical consumerism and the plant-based lifestyle. Not a false narrative - but information that empowers people to make better choices.