16
Feb
15

Plastic and Otters

I didn’t get chance to watch a lot of the BBC’s Winter Watch broadcast from the Highlands of Scotland earlier this year. In truth although there are good sections I feel it is getting a bit ‘samey’. Anyways, one bit I did get to see was a piece where they examined the stomach contents of Otters. Salmon and Trout were obviously high on the list; but so too were plastic pellets. As far as I can recall they never did state how the pellets had got into the otters but as I say I didn’t get chance to watch all the programmes.

 

Ladies the next time you buy your facial scrub take a look at the ingredients. Is it just ladies that use facial scrub or am I not quite hip enough? In fact take a look at the soap and toothpaste in your bathroom too. Chances are one of the ingredients is a polycarbonate or other type of plastic. These micro beads, the gritty polishers and sparkly glitters used in a plethora of home products are actually designed to wash straight down the drain and invariably flow out to sea because they are too small to be filtered out during sewage treatment.

These micro beads get eaten by organisms as variable as the tiniest plankton and filter-feeding molluscs to crustaceans, fish and even foraging seabirds. The Salmon feed on them in the sea, travel up the rivers and then get eaten by Otters. So at the top of the food chain the Otters end up collecting the indigestible plastic beads in their bodies.

That’s unfortunately not the end of it. These micro beads have been found to attract toxins when they are in the sea. The beads become small toxic pills. Not only do the beads collect in the Otters so do the toxins… remember we eat fish products too.

So what do we do about it? Don’t buy products containing plastic! – Here’s something to help you.

http://www.fauna-flora.org/initiatives/the-good-scrub-guide/.

Otter

Otter – not in Scotland. Home grown variety – Norfolk.

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