Chemical clue to why seabirds eat plastic

Plastic pollution in the sea gives off a smell that attracts foraging birds, scientists have found. The smell, similar to the odour of rotting seaweed, is caused by the breakdown of plankton that sticks to floating bits of plastic. About 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic and may keep some in their bellies, putting their health at risk.
The rate of plastic pollution is increasing around the world, with a quarter of a billion tonnes of plastic waste recorded in the oceans in 2014. Scientists think seabirds associate the smell of plastic with food – and are tricked into swallowing plastic waste. “These seabirds actually use odours to find their way around in the world and to find food,” said Matthew Savoca, of University of California, Davis. “We found a chemical on plastic that these birds typically associate with food, but now it’s being associated with plastic. “And so these birds might be very confused – and tricked into consuming plastic as food. “Use our green disposables from and help us in the fight against plastic! Thank you for being a green hero!