June 11, 2018, 6:42 am
The study has caused some concern.
Two tonnes of plastic have been found in the stomachs of fulmar birds around the North Sea.
Helen Moncrieff, Shetland manager at RSPB Scotland, said every single dead bird they analysed as part of a study contained a “lunchbox full of plastic”.
She was speaking ahead of a summit in Oban next week on tackling marine litter, which will be hosted by Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.
Scotland is home to a third of the European Union’s breeding seabirds, with the islands having traditionally hosted huge colonies.
However, concerns about the impact of plastic pollution are growing, and climate change has been blamed for a catastrophic collapse in seabird numbers.
Speaking at a fringe event at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, Ms Momcrieff said: “The mallies (fulmars), there is a long-term study going on in the north Atlantic and the North Sea particularly, with a whole lot of countries involved.
“Every month we go out and we check, do a beach bird survey, and any fulmar or mallie we find intact we take it, stick it in the freezer and then the stomach contents are analysed later on.
“What we find is there’s plastic in every single mallie’s belly.
“It’s like having a lunchbox full of plastic in your stomach. We calculated that there’s around two tonnes of plastic in fulmar bellies alone.”