From Iceland — Alarming Amounts Of Plastic Found In Icelandic Birds And Sea Life

Alarming Amounts Of Plastic Found In Icelandic Birds And Sea Life

Published January 14, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Andreas Trepte/Wikimedia Commons

The North East Iceland Nature Center (NNA) has released a new report detailing the disturbingly high levels of plastic found in animals around the country.

The report, conducted in cooperation with the Icelandic Environment Association, found that about 70% of Northern Fulmars (seen above) have plastic in their stomachs, RÚV reports, with 16% of them having quantities of 0.1 grammes or more. These are levels that exceed the recommended limits of The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR).

On the bright side, plastic levels in fulmars in Iceland are, on average, lower than in fulmars in other parts of the North Atlantic. However, high levels of plastic were also detected in blue mussels that were studied in the Suðurnes, the Westfjords, and all over southwest Iceland. Research found that anywhere from 40% to 55% of them had significant amounts of plastic in their stomachs.

Plastic in the oceans has been cause for growing concern for people all over the world, not least of all those who live close to the sea and depend on marine life for their livelihoods. Icelanders are amongst those trying to get to the root of the problem, not just in finding ways to prevent this plastic from getting into the sea, but also in exploring ways to drastically reduce the use of plastic to begin with. For now, it is estimated that there is about a tonne of plastic for every kilometre of coastline in Iceland.

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