Midway Island Albatross

Why we should be recycling every tiny scrap of plastic…

plastic in birds

plastic in birds

Chris Jordan’s Heart-Wrenching Photographs

Photographer Chris Jordan specializes in large-scale works that depict the magnitude of our consumerism and its impact on our environment. In one of his most emotional presentations, Jordan shares heart-wrenching images of birds killed by ingesting plastics that increasingly pollute our oceans. Everyone on the planet should watch this!

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Why The Midway Island Albatross Are Dying

On Midway Atoll, more than 2400 miles from a large landmass (Alaska) and more than 1000 miles from a city (Honolulu), plastic debris is ubiquitous. That’s because so much of our plastic ends up at sea and finds itself forever looping in the waters of the Pacific. Caught up in the currents of the Pacific Gyre our plastic waste might be eternal, for the coolness and darkness of the waters prevent plastic from disintegrating. The thinner pieces do eventually break down into ever smaller pieces and become deadly to plankton eating fish. Unfortunately the thicker, harder, colorful plastics seem to be a favorite of Albatross parents to feed their young. Albatross spend much time at sea in search of food, one of their staples being flying fish eggs. Flying fish attach their long strings of eggs to objects floating at sea, which are subsequently consumed by the albatross parents and then regurgitated to their chicks.**

Ninety eight percent of Albatross on Midway have plastic in them, and forty percent of all Albatross chicks birthed on Midway Atoll die each year due to ingestion of plastics. The actual causes are usually choking, dehydration or starvation as the plastic leaves little room for water or food. Or death from toxicity, such as when a chick is fed a cigarette lighter, which is often. John Klavitter, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, calculates that albatross feed their chicks about 5 tons of plastic a year at Midway.*

* “Plague of Plastic Chokes the Seas” LA Times

** Fish and Wildlife Service “The Plastic Problem on Midway Atoll”

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Author: keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building.

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David G. Donigan

This is a very disturbing presentation. While some in our government are concerned about 'leaving our grandchildren a large national debt,' they seem totally unconcerned that we will leave instead, an unlivable world. Unless we wake up, our species is doomed to self induced extinction




It's sad to see the destruction of Mother Earth at so many levels. I think most people have blinders on and just don't see this because it says a great deal about who we are as humans and what we do without even thinking.


If there dumb enough to eat all that then it's just natural selection.

damn hippies.


Albatrosses have been on earth from 35-30 Million years ago and still survive today. They pair for life.

Man produces a plastic bottle to get foods, liquids from a supermarket to home which lasts 100 years but then throws it away although resources are limited, how stupids that.


Id jus like to say to the arrogant moron leonard it cant be natural selection that these birds are dieing as theres nothing natural about plastic in the ocean. Its stupid people like you that make this world a place where humanity's time is limited because they have no respect for anything but themselves

larry neustaeter

most places don`t recycle plastics witch stay in the enviroment for 1,000 years plus so talk to your cities councelors to start!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I think there needs to be a more profitable way to recycle plastics if you want to see less of it become a pollutant. Currently, it is actually CHEAPER to just make new plastics instead of recycling them. There also needs to be more innovative ideas circulating on creative ways to reuse our wastes. We should encourage people to take their own initiative to solve this problem.


OMG this saddens me that people think the birds are dum for eating all this stuff . then they are the bum ones .


no comment


After seeing these pictures it's hard to believe that the governments of our world would not do something to make this a thing of the past and get this cleaned up!!! First of all let's lets make it jail time for littering and second pay people to clean it up!!!


Is there the possibility of removing the remaining birds that are still alive to another habitat?

Joao Cumerlato

I think the solution lies on land. Educated people will create specific laws to incentive the recycle process. Educated people will try their best to ensure the success of the complete recycling process. And where are these educated people? They are sitting in schools, they are our children, the future of our planet. We have to invest our efforts on them, only they can change the future of this planet. Our generation has little or nothing to do to combat this problem. What we can do is educate our children, they will save our future. Governments could stop spending money on space research and invest in our children's education, training more scientists and creating more incentives for those who recycle, not only those who produce plastic, but for those uses and recycles.


why they are helpless beautiful animals why kill them