Dolphins & Plastics

Common Dolphins

Common Dolphins (Photo by DEAP)

Throughout the world, the levels of plastic debris are increasing dramatically.  Recent research into the levels of plastic ingestion in Fransiscana dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) from Argentina demonstrate the levels of exposure coastal dolphins have to these potentially fatal sources of pollution.  Researchers found that of the 106 Franciscana dolphins studied, 28% had plastic debris in their stomach.  The percentage of plastic debris was higher in estuarine compared to marine environments.  The main sources of debris found were cellophane, bags, and bands.  Dolphins that were recently weaned also had the largest amount of plastic in their stomachs.  This study illustrates how vulnerable dolphins and their prey are to pollution from plastic debris. 
Each one of us, no matter where in the world you are, can make a difference by picking up plastic debris and litter and putting it in the bin!

Source: Denuncio, P., Bastida, R., Dassis, M., Giardino, G., Gerpe, M., & Rodriguez, D. (2011) Plastic ingestion in Franciscana dolphins, Pontoporia blainvillei, from Argentina, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 1836-1841