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Photo used for representation. (Credit: REUTERS)

The scientists undertook a detailed observation in the wild to understand where the animals and birds were encountering the waste. Information from social media, website and newspaper dailies was used from areas that ranged from Brazil to Malaysia.

Scientists at a university in Netherlands have shared a photo of a bird entangled in a used face mask, thus warning that the preventive measures undertaken to deal with coronavirus has been harming the animals in the world. A team of researchers in the Leiden University have warned that the waste generated from discarded masks, gloves and other forms of PPE materials are acting as a ‘ticking plastic time bomb’ for the animals and ‘killing them’ in parts of the world, Daily Mail reported.

The scientists found a perch that had been entangled in a latex glove that was discarded after being used. The team also came across animals such as foxes and birds that had been tangled in face masks, in the stomach of a penguin and they even found birds nests that were made out of discarded plastic waste.

The scientists, who conducted a study on these plastic waste and its effects on the animals and birds published in the journal Animal Biology, Nature conservationists are urging better disposal of the Covid safety equipment made of plastic so that it lessens the impact of these on birds and animals. The scientists undertook a detailed observation in the wild to understand where the animals and birds were encountering the waste. Information from social media, website and newspaper dailies was used from areas that ranged from Brazil to Malaysia. The observation led them to spot instances of foxes and other wild animals and birds in Canada, US who got entrapped in masks or gloves. Marine creatures such as seagulls and crabs also had a similar fate. Just like on land, mammals in the ocean have also ended up eating plastic waste as researcher found an incident of a penguin with plastic waste in its stomach.

“Animals become weakened due to becoming entangled or starve due to the plastic in their stomach,” said study author Liselotte Rambonnet.

Co-author Auke-Florian Hiemstra reportedly added that vertebrates and invertebrates on land, in freshwater, and in seawater become entangled or trapped in corona waste often. The team has created a website called CovidLitter where they urge people to inform about any such animal sightings where they seem to be affected by Covid-19 discarded waste.

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