Marine debris is a major threat to the health of our oceans and Kenneth R. Weiss of the Los Angeles Times reports that even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the albatross are dying of plastic trash that has ended up in their stomach from land thousand miles away.Â In fact, nearly four-fifths of marine trash comes from land-based sources and 90% of that is plastic.
MIDWAY ATOLL -- The albatross chick jumped to its feet, eyes alert and focused. At 5 months, it stood 18 inches tall and was fully feathered except for the fuzz that fringed its head.
All attitude, the chick straightened up and clacked its beak at a visitor, then rocked back and dangled webbed feet in the air to cool them in the afternoon breeze.
The next afternoon, the chick ignored passersby. The bird was flopped on its belly, its legs splayed awkwardly. Its wings drooped in the hot sun. A few hours later, the chick was dead.
John Klavitter, a wildlife biologist, turned the bird over and cut it open with a knife. Probing its innards with a gloved hand, he pulled out a yellowish sac â€" its stomach.
Out tumbled a collection of red, blue and orange bottle caps, a black spray nozzle, part of a green comb, a white golf tee and a clump of tiny dark squid beaks ensnared in a tangle of fishing line.
Read the other parts of the LA Times series on Altered Oceans.
Marine debris continues to cause harm to wildlife with reports of over 260 species that have had reported problems with marine debris. We need to take action to help ensure healthy waterways for our future. You can help by supporting the CAW sponsored AB 1940 (Koretz), which creates a multiagency taskforce to formulate and implement a state plan addressing marine debris.
What You Can Do