How our Overberg birds are ALSO affected by plastic
Birds in the Overberg face many threats. But did you know that plastic products are among those threats?
Birds like Blue Cranes, Secretarybirds and other species we protect can be affected by bailing twine. They are drawn to sheep and ostrich feeding areas, to feed on seeds and insects. Or wander through veld where bales have been deposited.
But bailing twine is often left in the veld. And these can become tangled around their legs.
At the Overberg Crane Group, we’ve come across birds that have lost limbs as a result of bailing twine, and even those who have lost their lives as a result.
Other plastic products also threaten our bird life. Plastics not only litter our shorelines (research suggests that 90% of ALL seabirds have consumed plastic). They also occur across our natural and agricultural landscapes. Burst balloons, plastic bottles, litter from rubbish dumps, plastic rings (like from milk bottles), litter thrown out of windows of passing cars, and other plastics somehow make their way into our veld.
There’s so much we can do ALREADY to reduce our use of plastics. Here are some tips:
- Remove bailing twine from the veld. For farmers, farmworkers, hikers or mountain bikers passing through, if you see bailing twine, simply pick it up.
- Recycle and re-use what you can.
- Remember to take your re-usable shopping bag when you go shopping – every time.
- Many Checkers and Spar retailers in the Overberg now have brown paper bags available. Consider buying these should you forget your re-usable shopping bag.
- Pick up litter where possible (and don’t litter) – like plastic bottles, etc.
- Don’t release helium balloons – they always have to come down somewhere.
- Farmers: Try to keep your rubbish to a dry, small area on your property (perhaps even bury it?)
Birds are often drawn to these plastics – unable to distinguish between them and potential food.
And more than once in the Overberg, we’ve found birds whose beaks are helplessly stuck, with plastic rings around them.
That’s why, this July, we’re calling on Overberg-ers and bird lovers, to join Plastic Free July.
Some terrifying plastic facts
(ACCORDING TO INTERNATIONAL BIRD RESCUE AND THE GUARDIAN):