North Sea 'most polluted' off Dutch coast
15 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Most birds living off the Dutch coast have plastic in their stomachs, indicating that the region's water is the most polluted in the North Sea.
15 December 2004
AMSTERDAM — Most birds living off the Dutch coast have plastic in their stomachs, indicating that the region's water is the most polluted in the North Sea.
The pollution problem is caused by a combination of shipping, industry and consumers, a study indicated on Wednesday.
The European Union report, entitled "Save the North Sea", found dead birds that wash up on the Dutch coast have on average 50 pieces of plastic in their stomach. Birds washing up in Scotland have 25 bits of plastic in their stomach.
Researchers examined the stomach contents of 600 birds washed ashore in the past three years in Belgium, Britain, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. The amount of pollution in the sea was estimated based on the contents of the birds' stomachs.
The results of the research indicate that 40 to 60 percent of North Sea fulmar birds have above "acceptable" amounts of rubbish or pollution in their stomachs.
North Sea countries have in the past set a maximum of just 2 percent of birds allowed to have more than 10 bits of plastic in their stomach. Chemicals are also found inside the birds.
The North Sea is at its most polluted off the Dutch coast due in part to the fact that many rivers empty into the sea in the Netherlands, carrying the rubbish they contain out to sea.
Industry has been reducing the amount of plastic waste in sea water since the 1980s, but consumer waste has increased, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday.
The aim of the study was to raise awareness of the pollution of the North Sea and an information course has been offered to workers in the shipping industry, news agency Novum reported.
As part of the "Fishing for Litter" project, Dutch fishing crews have hauled 250,000kg of rubbish from the North Sea. The project is ending this year but the Save the North Sea movement is investigating whether similar projects can continue with alternative funding.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news