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Study author responds to "99% of seabirds have swallowed plastic dumped in oceans"

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Study author responds to “99% of seabirds have swallowed plastic dumped in oceans”

An article in the print edition of the Independent on 1st September ran the headline “Pollution alert: 99% of seabirds have swallowed plastic dumped in oceans.” However this figure, which comes from a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was a prediction for 2050 and not a measure of current levels.*

Dr Chris Wilcox, from the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation, Hobart, and lead author of the study:

“We actually estimated that plastic would be expected to be found in approximately 90% of seabirds today, based on what has been reported in the literature since 1962. Based on our models of plastics exposure and ingestion, we predict that nearly all seabird species will have eaten plastic to some extent by 2050.”

*In its online coverage of the story the Independent ran the headline: “Almost every seabird ‘will have eaten plastic by 2050’ because of ocean pollution”

Document type: For The Record

Published: 1 September 2015

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Source: Sense About Science

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