Plastic pollution kills thousands of animals every year. Since the beginning of the health crisis, the proliferation of single-use masks has accelerated this pollution, at the expense of increasingly vulnerable wildlife. In order to remind and raise awareness of this scourge, 30millionsdamis.fr shares the pledged photos of wildlife photographers.
Plastic waste in bird beaks, nests made of surgical masks… Animal photographers seek to raise awareness of the catastrophic impact of plastic pollution on wildlife through their symbolic lenses.
Plastic: 6th mainland
A quantity that makes people talk about “6th “Continent”: Nearly 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. An ecosystem that covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and provides us with 70% of our oxygen. Marine animals (fish, marine mammals, turtles) are the main victims : More than 1 million people die every year from injuries, dismemberment and suffocation from this debris. According to a study by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK) from 2020, just to name one – not least – 100% of sea turtles have integrated plastic waste. Recently, in France, the Antibes Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre took in a hatchling found trapped in a plastic bag (10 June 2022).
Plastic: an olfactory trap
Seabirds are also severely affected. ” They choose food by smell; however, plastic can be mistaken for food due to the strong sulphur odor of algae and bacteriaexplains MedWet, an intergovernmental network dedicated to the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands. Seabirds associate this smell with food, falling into ‘smell traps’ that cause them to eat plastic instead of prey “.
Many particularly poignant images bear witness to this. In Aurélien Fayolle’s snapshot, a puffin swallows a chunk of plastic waste: ” Behind the beautiful picture, there is a sad reality that cannot be avoided.moved wildlife photographers. When it comes to plastic… According to a WWF report published in 2018, 90% of the world’s seabirds have plastic debris in their stomachs (“Plastic pollution in the Mediterranean. Let’s get out of it”). A respectable rate of 99% could be reached by 2050 if public authorities do not take drastic steps to remedy it.
Plastic: Also in town!
Not to mention the rubbish that fills the city! ” Photographing wildlife in an urban setting also means witnessing a particularly delicate scene: In Brussels, I observed a flock of white storks coming to a garbage sorting plant in the city center to feedremember photographer Thomas Jean joined 30millionsdamis.fr. After filming a few storks feeding, I saw the man blocked by a plastic bag with the Universal Recycling logo on it. The handle of the bag wraps around his neck and one of his legs. However, she was still able to fly and move on the ground. “.
Despite all his efforts, unfortunately the photographer was unable to catch the poor stork and free it from this obstacle. He then came up with the idea of immortalizing the scene to raise public awareness. ” Is it enough to just think about the composition of the plastic bag and put the “green” logo on it?ask T. Jean. This photo alone answers the question: Unfortunately, our consumption and use of plastic bags has led to real wildlife traps. »
Plastic: The scourge of a deepening health crisis
If known and condemned now, plastic pollution will continue to increase. In question: The health crisis related to Covid-19. The surgical masks that are supposed to protect against the pandemic are themselves made from plastic fibers, much of which contain polypropylene, a thermoplastic used to make bottle caps that can be deadly to wildlife.
A Dutch study published in the journal Animal Biology in March 2021 warned that these one-time protections would kill many animals. Trapped with these discarded items, exhausted and some didn’t survive. Others died after ingesting the waste, like a poor Magellanic penguin found dead on a beach in Brazil during the pandemic with a mask in its stomach.Some already infamous images speak for themselves. In January 2021, photographer Mohd Rasfan immortalized macaque monkeys chewing rubber bands from used masks high above Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Plastics: Act fast!
Despite the easing of health restrictions, the scourge continues. In early June 2022, on the occasion of the Cusset (03) Eco-Nature Photography Festival, photographer Frederic Tiller made an unfortunate discovery. As he observed jackdaws nesting in the city’s tall trees – a species that has become as common as rock pigeons – he saw disposable surgical masks in the middle of the branches as they formed in the hollow of a plane tree a lair. ” Signs that the species does not hesitate to test new materials, which are not without risks to their offspring ‘, exclaimed the wildlife photographer.
Choosing ecologically responsible packaging is up to all of us, citizens and “consumers”. Countries take necessary measures to reduce the flow of plastics at sea and on land.