About 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic and are likely to retain some in their gut, a new analysis estimates.
The study concludes that matters will only get worse until action is taken to stem the flow of waste to the oceans.
Researcher Erik Van Sebille says the oceans are now filled with plastic and it is “virtually certain” that any dead seabird found in 2050 “will have a bit of plastic in its stomach”.
Dr Van Sebille and his colleagues report their work in the journal PNAS.
On one level, the analysis is shocking, but on another, its findings seem depressingly familiar.
Numerous studies have now catalogued the rising mass of plastic debris being dumped, blown or simply washed out to sea; and it is having a deleterious impact on the marine environment.