Why is marine litter a problem to cetaceans?
Marine litter is a conservation concern for cetaceans with over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds dying each year from the ingestion or entanglement (Laist, 1997). Over the last 50 years, plastics have become particularly problematic; these materials are buoyant, slow to degrade, and can be carried thousands of kms by winds and currents (Laist et al, 1999). With an estimated 8 million items of litter entering the worlds oceans each day it is not surprising that a recent study by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) estimated that there were 46,000 pieces of plastic litter per square mile! By far the most commonly ingested items are plastic bags and plastic sheeting while items such as drinking straws, bottle caps, portions of discarded fishing net and synthetic rope are also regularly found (WDCS, 2011). By conducting beach cleans we can reduce the amount of litter entering the oceans and help work towards reducing adverse effects on marine wildlife.
And so we are asking you to come down and join us on Saturday 9th May to take part in our beach clean and activity day as part of Keep Wales Tidy ‘Clean Coasts Week.’ We need your help to keep Cardigan Bay and our coastal communities clean and safe for ourselves and the surrounding wildlife to enjoy.
The day will be kicking off with a beach clean on Traeth Y Dolau at 10am, meeting our Sea Watch Research Interns on the Pier followed by activities for all including a chance to learn how we conduct our land watch surveys, educational games, face painting, and much more!