Plastic pollution and its effects on our UK bird population

Living 10 minutes from the beach, means we are regular beachgoers. When we arrive early at our local beach we see the tractor driving up and down cleaning the beach from plastics and other non biodegradable waste. Its horrifying to see the amount of plastics that are either washed up or just dropped/left behind by people.

Plastic pollution is a problem for everyone. The effect on the UK bird population is pretty dire. Did you know that around 90% of seabirds have consumed plastic material?

Plastic pollution is a problem for everyone. The effect on the UK bird population is pretty dire. Did you know that around 90% of seabirds have consumed plastic material?

We produce large amounts of plastics each year. They continually end up as waste in the environment, and the polymers they comprise decompose extremely slowly. As of 2015 around 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste has been created and 79% of that has ended up in the landfill sites or out into the natural environment. We are running out of room in the landfill sites plus they are an eyesore and a haven for pests.

Effects of plastic pollution on birds

Most carrier bags, crisp packets, coffee stirrer, bottles and the plastic 6 pack can holders are non biodegradable and cause the most harm by trapping birds, or by them being ingested. These plastics are slowly killing our sea creatures, fish and birds. Plastic ingested by adult birds can be passed to their young through feeding. The most common ways plastic pollution effects seabirds is by restricting their movement, blocking their gut and by increasing their exposure to toxins.

How we can reduce our use of plastics

  • Recycle

Over the past few years recycling has really taken off. Especially with councils providing recycling sorting bags to households. You need to be careful though when recycling as to not mix up the different types and to make sure its clean to avoid it being sent to landfill.

  • Use reusable items

Such as reusable coffee cups when you pop to the coffee shop for a takeaway coffee. Or by taking your own containers to the butcher’s shop to put your meat in instead of those plastic bags they use. With most supermarkets now persuading you to bring your own bags, there are a lot less plastic carrier bags around for sure.

  • Avoid using plastic straws

Did you know that plastic straws are one of the main waste plastic products that end up in the stomachs of Albatrosses and their chicks? You can help them out by refusing a plastic straw in a bar, cafe or restaurant. Only last week I was provided with a paper straw for an iced drink in my local coffee shop. I was so pleased and even commented on it.


Plastics in the world’s oceans are set to treble in the next 10 years, according to a new government report. They are also contributing to a rubbish heap in the Pacific Ocean that is estimated to be as big as France. The size of that is really hard to imagine isn’t it?

This infographic from Kennedy Wild Bird Food outlines the plastic pollution problem and how we can help to change it.

plastic pollution and its effects on our UK bird population.


Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have found this post useful.

You can catch up with my post here on single use plastics.

*This is a collaborative post


I just wanted to quickly add that this is my 1000th blog post! A huge special thanks to everyone who reads my blog and help me to keep it going. 

1000th blog post

Thank you for sharing

9 thoughts on “Plastic pollution and its effects on our UK bird population

  1. It’s terrible what we are doing to the planet. We always pick up litter when we visit the beach and we are trying to become more aware and reduce buying plastic products . Happy blogaversary 🙂

  2. We’re doing our best in our household. What frustrates me is that I read the other day that 40% of supermarket plastic packaging is non-recyclable. They should pass a law that makes them use only recyclable plastic!

  3. Fabulous post, i recycle when i can, but people need to stop littering our beaches and coasts and even our countryside, they just discard rubbish where ever they stand, it really irritates me when i see somebody just chuck their litter on the floor

  4. This is so sad….as a science teacher i do a lot of teaching about plastic recycling and the dangers of litter 💛

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