• Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:32 pm

UN: Plastic threatens migratory species in Asia-Pacific

  • Published at 10:50 pm August 31st, 2021
Wild Elephants
Wild elephants rummage near an electric fence through garbage dumped at an open ground in the village of Digampathana in north-central Sri Lanka on May 11, 2018 AFP

The UN report called for strategies to prevent plastic being dumped in the environment, reducing waste through better design and recycling

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 UN report on the Asia-Pacific region said yesterday, 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 (CMS) 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 industrialised and polluted areas -- they are likely at risk of higher exposure to plastics and associated contaminants.

Researchers cited estimates that 80% 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 (IUCN), 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.

'Additional stress'

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 under water 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. 

This means the plastic could build up in their guts or be passed on to their chicks when they regurgitate food for them, it said. 

On land, Asian Elephants had also been observed scavenging on rubbish dumps in Sri Lanka and eating plastic in Thailand, the report noted.

The report stressed that species in Asia-Pacific face a multitude of threats, including habitat loss, overfishing, industrial pollution and climate change.   

"Even if plastic pollution is not the most significant of these stressors, it can add an additional stress to already vulnerable populations," it said.  

It called for strategies to prevent plastic being dumped in the environment, reducing waste through better design and recycling, as well as greater efforts to understand the effects of this pollution on migratory species.

53
Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail