1. Schniffy says

    I had been putting ALL plastic in my recycling plastic/metal trash can for years. Bottle tops, dry cleaning plastic and bags. I however just found out on Monday after a meeting w/ the recycling outreach coordinator for my community that the only plastic my city recycles is in the form of bottles and jugs! All those little plastic items that found their way into these animal must be thrown in w/ regular trash. ???

  2. Pee Town says

    …and CUT! To the picture of the polar bear cub struggling on a melting ice flow! There is something about this whole proposition that feels dubious to me — not the ocean waste, which is there for sure, but the idea that birds are busy feeding it to their young and then the young are decomposing in the tides and exposing neatly packaged plastics in their remains. Really?

  3. BC says

    Survival of the fittest anyone? I mean come on. Other animals know what food is and what food is not. And I kind of do not believe that all this junk was inside that bird at the time of death. If I ate one lighter, I’d have a bowel obstruction in about 3 hours and need surgery or die. More fabrication!!

  4. Latebrosus says

    Well, according to the Bible, we do hold dominion over all the Earth’s creatures, so who cares? All animals were created in the Garden of Eden to serve us. This is also clear evidence that evolution is false, because, as Hima notes, these birds should’ve learned to distinguish between edible and inedible a long time ago. As awful as these pictures are, it’s all part of God’s plan, which we cannot hope to understand, but we should be grateful that we are all saved through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as long as we don’t act on our homosexual impulses.

    Now where’s my Dasani bottled water and plastic clamshell to-go salad (organic!)? I’m having lunch with Carrie Prejean!

  5. AERES says

    @ BC

    Assuming you’re kidding, “I kind of do not believe” your joke is funny.

    These pictures are tragic.

    And what’s worse is that the Pacific Gyre, where most of this plastic detrius ends up, is only getting larger.

  6. Brad says

    A sad, sad commentary on our lack of respect for our planet. To better understand this issue, read “My Ishmael”. Change your persepctive and you change your life.

  7. Caleb says

    These people who keep arguing about knowing what to eat and what not to eat clearly need to go back and take some science classes regarding evolution and “survival of the fittest.” Instincts regarding avoiding things that are lethal are created over centuries of reproduction – not over the course of one animal’s life. Why would these birds have any idea not to eat that when for centuries they have been able to pick up whatever from the ocean, feed it to their chicks and not kill them? That’s instinct. These items haven’t been around for centuries…they have been around what, maybe a couple of generations at best.

    Please THINK before you type. Geez.

  8. TANK says

    The thing is as much as environmentalists urge us to seek out renewable forms of energy, recycle and develop biodegradable products, and cut co2 emissions (of which developing nations will more than make up for any cut we make), it’s far too late. There’s nothing we can do at this point to reverse global warming, or, to put it bluntly, save the environment. It’s game over, and the only reason we should continue to push for renewable energy is due to the ever decreasing supply of fossil fuels. Eventually, you’ll start SEEING it get worse at a geoemetric rate. Think it’s bad now? LOL! It’s good to see people concerned about it, but they achieve nothing but some kind of emotional fulfillment.

  9. Jim says

    For those who think we are superior and animals inferior, for all of our supposed intelligence we abuse our bodies in every imaginable way, we abuse our own in every imaginable way, and we abuse the other inhabitants of this earth similarly even though our very existence depends on them. Superior being, god’s chosen – forget it!

  10. josepe says

    do you notice most of this birds like anything that is blue and red and stuff bigger than their beaks.
    is sad but it looks to stage like the stuff is way to big to be feed by their mothers and mostly the composition have the same color.

    regular human beings dont make as much waste as big companies, the problem should rely more in the big companies

  11. Paul R says

    Plastics have been around for about 50 years, and humans have produced roughly 600 billion tons of them. Every day merchant ships (excluding military) drop 660,000 plastic containers in the world’s waters. Hell, most skin scrubbing products that people use in the shower are based on plastic beads, which then go down the drain. Birds don’t know the difference, and most birds cannot see many colors.

    Anyone who thinks this is staged or sustainable doesn’t know enough. The largest pile of churning plastic in the Pacific is the size of Africa, for chrissakes.

  12. BC says

    Guys, if we put any open container on the beach and it sunk into the sand, within a few days, it would be filled with plastic and junk that got brought in with the tide. I am in full agreement that the polution is horrific. However, what clearly happened here is that this bird died, it was hollowed out by some predatory animal and as it deteriorated on the beach, junk got caught inside it’s abdominal cavity. Look at the stuff – eating just ONE of those items would have killed the bird. There is no way it ate all of that stuff. So the photographer is correct – he did not manipulate the picture. But he did manipulate the interpretation.

  13. Randy says

    This piece would have been better with video of birds actually repeatedly feeding the plastic to their young. Obviously it happens, so this should be an easy matter, to quell the doubters. Go back. Get the video. Make them shut up and own up.

  14. BC says

    @ Caleb – Survival of the Fittest happens b/c the “less fit” of each generation have less of a chance to mate and pass on their “less fit” genes. So although it does happen over centuries, there is a generational component to it as well.

  15. Bob says

    Human beings suck. If I had the ability, I would wipe out humanity so other species on this planet might have a chance. Although in reality we’ve probably already fucked this planet up for eons to come …

  16. TANK says

    Actually, natural selection for complex life occurs over many, many millenia. We see artificial selection occur over centuries with domesticated livestock, immunity, bacteria and plant life, however.

    Social darwinism’s coopting of the term “survival of the fittest” misunderstands what fittest means in a biological sense (it has no connection at all to biological evolution, in fact), and is so cashed out by the current memes, beliefs and economic arrangements of the age. For example, poor people continue to pass on their genes at higher rates than those with high IQ’s. This debunks the claim that they are less fit. Biological fitness has very little to do with your IQ, or any particular aspect of your personality and psychological composition. We are all products of those who survived, and we are under no ecological pressures to evolve into a new species.

  17. Brian in Texas says

    I have to agree with BC on this one. Of course polluted waters aren’t good for the birds but I don’t think there is some pandemic of baby albatrosses dying from ingesting plastic.

  18. Kai in NYC says

    Andy, I wonder what you think when you most something like this, and get so many comments calling “fake!” or dismissing it based on nothing more than “feelings.” Frankly, the persistence of ignorance in the face of knowledge is almost as disheartening as what’s happening to the birds.

  19. says

    I’m amazed at the number of people in this thread who think it’s perfectly fine that we pollute the Earth to the extent that baby chicks starve because they’re accidentally fed plastic, because (sarcasm on) those birds are just too damn stupid! (/sarcasm off).


  20. Claudia says

    The thing is, although I definitely consider myself an environmentalist, this story isn’t really about carbon emissions or global warming, it’s about littering. Even if these pictures are staged, I have walked enough beaches in my time (in both Europe and the US) to know that littering is a huge problem. And, the fact is that a lot of litter really does strangle and kill all different types of sea creatures. Not to mention that it looks horrible. So maybe instead of arguing about whether the birds are too stupid to eat trash or not, we could spend that time more wisely by cleaning up the closest beach. (And yes, I really do carry plastic bags with me when I go hiking, etc, just for that reason.)

  21. Jesus says

    As much as I am disgusted by these photos, if not only for the fact that they are rotting bodies of baby birds filled with our trash, I am even more disgusted by the human-hating attitudes of some of you guys posting here. True, we created the trash, but we also have the power to change our course to benefit the rest of the planet. Some of us might be misguided in our efforts or driven by greed to commit this environmental offenses, but the problem is not human. The problem is ignorance. We have the power to educate others, especially future generations, of the real impact we have made on our planet. But we belong to the Earth just as much as these birds do.

  22. Mark440 says

    Well, being that we have pretty much fucked this place up beyond repair, we better hope and pray there is intelligent life somewhere in outer space – cuz we’ve really been short changed here.

    Ah yes! Plastics! Let’s make some more! But! What the hell would we do without them? What do we replace them with? What do we do to clean up the kajillion tons of it suffocating our planet. This is like shittin in your mess kit!

  23. Tom says

    All you human-hating “I would destroy humanity if I could” narcissists must kill yourselves at once or be proven the phony self-aggrandizing a-holes you are. That said, we have to compost (which would take care of 90% of our solid waste) and stop treating plastic as a throw-away. Not doing that is as disgusting as the “all humans are evil and must die except for me who is pure and virtuous for just saying this” types!

  24. Johng says

    I have seen these images used in a lecture with many more disturbing ones. This is not stages, natural selection as some of you have noted. This is the results of humans not caring about the planet, animals, or our water supply.

    To see a clip of the lecture, with images of a turtle, literally with a plastic cap ring around its midsection go here:

    Its scary and very sad.

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