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Birds from every continent except Antarctica have been photographed nesting or tangled in our rubbish.
Photos were submitted by people from all over the world to an online project called Birds and Debris.
The scientists running the project say they see birds ensnared – or nesting – in everything from rope and fishing line to balloon ribbon and a flip-flop.
Nearly a quarter of the photographs show birds nesting or entangled in disposable face masks.
The focus of the project is on capturing the impact of waste – particularly plastic pollution – on the avian world.
“Basically, if a bird builds a nest using long fibrous materials – like seaweed, branches or reeds – the chances are it will have human debris in its nest somewhere,” said Dr Alex Bond from the Natural History Museum in London, and one of the researchers involved.
The project, which he and his colleagues have been running for four years, aims to draw attention to the widespread problem of plastic waste in the environment.
“When you start looking for this stuff, you’ll see it everywhere,” he said. “And this has really illustrated the huge geographic scope – we had reports from Japan , Australia, Sri Lanka, the UK, North America – it’s truly a global issue.”
In a recent study, the team looked into how many of the photos being submitted feature pandemic-related personal protective equipment (PPE). They found that