Plastic rubbish that maims or kills wildlife has reached an all time high in the region

PUBLISHED: 07:32 05 February 2019

Plastic maiming or killing wildlife is at an all time high say the RSPCA. Picture: RSPCA

Plastic maiming or killing wildlife is at an all time high say the RSPCA. Picture: RSPCA

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The number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents in Cambridgeshire more than doubling in the last four years, according to the RSPCA.

Plastic maiming or killing wildlife is at an all time high say the RSPCA. Picture:GLEN MINGHAMPlastic maiming or killing wildlife is at an all time high say the RSPCA. Picture:GLEN MINGHAM

The animal welfare charity has recorded a rise in incidents affecting animals involving plastic rubbish from 473 in 2015 to 579 in 2018.

In Cambridgeshire, litter in general has gone up, with plastic incidents that maim or kill wildlife rising from six to 15.

It has led to a plea to the public to pick up rubbish and either take it home or dispose of it responsibly.

RSPCA Head of Wildlife, Adam Grogan said: “This shocking rise in plastic litter incidents suggests that plastic is a growing threat to animals.

“Every year, the RSPCA deals with increasing numbers of mammals, birds and reptiles that have become entangled or affected in some way by discarded plastic.

“From seals with deep infected wounds caused by plastic frisbees cutting into their necks, to swans and geese trapped in fishing line or netting, plastic is clearly having an increasing impact on animal welfare.

“Our latest data sadly reflects the wider litter crisis taking place right now across the globe and action is urgently needed. It’s up to every one of us to do our bit in the war against litter.”

The charity’s latest data reveals there are certain animals - especially those that live in water habitats - being affected disproportionately by plastic.

There has been a fourfold rise in seals affected by incidents involving plastic litter with 28 recorded across England and Wales in 2018 compared to just 5 in 2015.

Plastic litter is a particular problem for certain water birds, with incidents involving geese rising from 37 to 70 and swans rising from 40 to 48 across England and Wales during that same four-year period.

In the East of England, plastics incidents have doubled from 45 in 2015 to 91 in 2018.

The RSPCA data also revealed that of the 4,579 incidents in 2018 which involved any types of litter, 3,228 were from angling and 1,351 general litter.

• To help the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk care for and rehabilitate seals, please visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/EastWinchSeals.

• Join the Great British Spring Clean from Keep Britain Tidy, supported by the RSPCA.

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