Letters to the Editor

How does trash affect birds?

A lot of people don’t know that 9 billion tons of litter are dumped into the ocean every year. A survey of Delta Program middle school students has found that 74 percent are unaware of this fact. I fear that many Centre County residents could follow this statistic and be unaware of the following (according to International Bird Rescue and About.com birding expert Melissa Mayntz):

▪ It takes 450 years for plastic water bottles to decompose.

▪ Fish lines and nets can take 600 years to decompose.

▪ Birds can get wrapped around fish lines, causing cuts, amputations to wings, legs, feet or the neck, and can lead to death.

▪ Plastic bags or balloons in the ocean are dangerous (they can look like a jellyfish meal to a sea turtle).

▪ 1.5 million seabirds die each year from plastic. Plastic trash is found in 90 percent of these birds. This rate is growing as global production of plastics increases.

We can work together to solve this problem by informing friends of the issue and taking the following steps:

▪ Throw trash away in the proper place ( recycle, trash and compost).

▪ Pick up any trash outside before a bird can become tangled or choke.

▪ Recycle whenever possible.

About $11.5 billion is spent yearly to clean litter. So that means if we don’t stop it, we are wasting money.

We need to step up and help the 1.5 million seabirds we are killing each year.

Sapphire Brown,

State College