Thousands of plastic bottles and other pieces of plastic litter line the coastline south of Durban after a recent storm – testimony to South Africa’s ranking among the top 20 worst marine plastic polluters in the world. Picture: Lisa Guastella

Durban - Based on recordings done by the KZN Marine Stranding Network marine debris and plastic appears to be an increasing problem in the cause of animal strandings.

On their Facebook page, the network said 62 percent of all being recorded as having plastic in their gut contents, globally.

“The KZN Marine Stranding Network has only been recording marine debris as a cause of stranding in its database since 2016, and are already seeing a dramatic increase in reports. Only 8 percent (five birds and one turtle) of stranded animals were recorded to have been affected by marine debris in 2016, while in 2017, the number almost doubled with 14 percent (10 birds and one whale) being entangled or having ingested fishing gear or plastic,” it said.

The graph here shows the status of the animals as a result of marine debris in 2017 for KZN. A small percentage of animals were found alive and released (18%) while the greatest percentage is that of animals who succumbed to their injuries after a rescue attempt (55%). Almost a third of animals (27%) were already dead at time of being found on the beach.

The network said reporting dead animals on the beach is equally important as reporting live animals in distress, as this gives them an idea of how humans are directly and indirectly contributing to the death of these animals.

Daily News