When Wildlife Meets Litter - Plastic
Plastic can be very convenient for us - we use single-use items then discard them, like drinks cups, lids, stirrers, bottles, plastic bags of all sorts like crisp bags, sweet wrappers, and lots more.
You will be able to think of lots of examples-is there any plastic in your lunchbox for example?
And it’s not just whole items, it’s small fragments too. For every large item we see, there will be loads of small fragments we don't notice-but birds especially can mistake small pieces of plastic for food.
One of the problems is that whilst we may use it for only a few minutes, it isn’t biodegradable. It’s thought that it can take hundreds of years for plastic to decompose. Nature’s recyclers just can’t deal with it.
Remember how we talked about the hungry animals on Bennachie coming out looking for food when it’s quiet? Well here’s what can happen, and Jock says the next bit can be difficult to think about:
Animals tend to have much better senses of smell than us. They can smell leftover food in our litter and are attracted to it. And because creatures are shy and secretive, we tend not to know what our litter can do to them.
Plastic causes big problems for wildlife. Creatures simply don’t understand about litter, and how dangerous it can be for them.
The two main sets of problems wildlife have with plastic are entanglement (getting caught up in it) and consuming (eating) it.
Food containers like plastic bottles and jars can smell really interesting, but small animals can get their heads stuck inside. Some manage to get inside but then can’t get out again.
Plastic six-pack can holders can be really dangerous, as animals get their heads and wings stuck in them, causing horrible injuries.
Animals can mistake plastic for food-for example, plastic bags like crisp bags and food wrapping can make animals choke, or can cause blockages in their tummies and gut-that can kill!
This is part of the Let's Make Bennachie Litter Free! information.