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(AU) Keeping litter off the beach saves wildlife August 21, 2005 1:42 PM

By Hannah Edwards
August 21, 2005
The Sun-Herald
Up to 100,000 marine animals and 1 million seabirds a year are being killed by bottles, cigarette butts, plastic bags, balloons and other household rubbish.

Turtles, seabirds, penguins, dolphins, seals and whales are injured or killed after eating, or becoming entangled in, rubbish floating in the ocean, figures from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority show.

As many as 80 million plastic bags are thrown out in Australia each year.

Wildlife supervisor Libby Hall, who runs the rehabilitation clinic at Taronga Zoo, said a quarter of the animals admitted to the clinic had been injured by marine debris.

She said fishers who left rubbish behind were among the most serious offenders, with bait bags, nets and hooks at the top of the danger list.

Manager of species conservation at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Kirstin Dobbs said whales had been found off the northern Queensland coast with six square metres of plastic in their gut.

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