A heart-breaking photo of a seagull that was found hanged by its neck from an abandoned waste plastic bag has emerged.
The seabird died when its neck got caught in the handles of a single-use plastic bag that was attached to a fence in the small town of Bridgwater, Somerset.
The graphic picture, which shows the bird’s beak open and wings flaccid in death, was shared to Facebook by concerned resident Andy Keirle.
Mr Keirle came across the dead bird when he parked to refuel his car. He said he posted the photo to share the ‘massive problem with plastic materials’.
It is unclear how the animal got there or how long it had been before it was found.
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A heart-breaking photo of a seagull that was found hanged by its neck from an abandoned waste plastic bag has emerged. The seabird died when its neck got caught in the handles of a single use-plastic bag in Bridgwater, Somerset
Posting the photo to Facebook page Bridgwater Matters, Mr Keirle wrote: ‘I stopped off for fuel at Bristol Road fuel station in Bridgwater and saw yet another victim of too much plastic waste.
‘It was already dead when I got there, and was causing a bit of a crowd at 7am in the morning. How it happened is beyond me.’
The post has been liked 160 times and received more than 80 comments from people distressed by the graphic photo.
Mr Keirle added: ‘On my own I make little effect, but a lot of us can make a massive difference.’
The Facebook page was inundated with concerned citizens aghast at the startling.
Jane Ashford, also of Bridgwater, commented: ‘This is horrible. This is a perfect picture to show the impact of plastic waste, this is why lids need to be able to shut on bins.’
Some visitors to the site expressed concern at the suffering the bird likely endured.
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Zara Louise Williams, from Taunton, Somerset, wrote: ‘It must have been struggling for a while. And nothing was done. Poor gull, an awful way to go.’
Every two hours, the RSPCA answers a call about an animal that has been harmed by rubbish – with 5,081 calls about animals affected by litter in 2017.
Llewelyn Lowen, RSPCA wildlife scientific information officer, said: ‘It’s shocking how many litter-related incidents we see, particularly as these kinds of animal injuries and deaths are entirely avoidable.
‘It is good that there’s a global spotlight on how we use and dispose of plastic and other litter so that people understand how their rubbish is affecting animals and the environment.
The scourge of plastic pollution is an ongoing battle for conservationists worldwide, with reports of animals dying from ingesting too much plastic becoming commonplace.
Plastic has been found in the most remote locations, from the Mariana Trench, nearly 11,000 metres below sea level to the ice of Antarctica.
Last month a baby seal was found dead on the Isle of Skye (pictured). Plastic has been found in the most remote locations, from the Mariana Trench, nearly 11,000 metres below sea level to the ice of Antarctica
A rare visitor to UK shores, the seal died after eating a sweet-wrapper sized chunk of plastic a square inch in size (pictured). It is believed this wrapped embedded in the intestinal wall of the young pup, and contributed to its death
It can be found hundreds of miles from the nearest coastline and it has even been found that microplastics have made their way inside human bodies.
As a side-effect of our plastic obsession, animals are losing their lives as they fall foul of the persistent menace.
Plastic does not biodegrade, and can last for tens and even hundreds of years.
Last month, a baby seal was found on an Isle of Skye beach, a victim of ingesting plastic.
A rare visitor to UK shores, it died after eating a square inch (6cm square) chunk of plastic, about the same size as a sweet wrapper.
It is believed the plastic packaging was stuck in the intestinal wall of the young pup, and contributed to its death.
Another poor seal, this time found in Lincolnshire, also suffered at the hands of marine litter.
It fell victim to ocean pollution after getting a wire embedded two inches into its neck.
A seal, found in Lincolnshire, has suffered at the hands of marine litter. It fell victim to ocean pollution after getting a wire embedded two inches into its neck
The stricken creature – named Earth by rescuers – was spotted in distress at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve and was rescued by volunteers from Natureland Seal Sanctuary on May 23. It is believed the nylon wire got stuck around her neck when she was a pup
The scourge of plastic pollution is an ongoing battle for conservationists worldwide. A seagull found dead in Bridgwater, Somerset and a seal rescued at Gibraltar Point in Lincolnshire exemplify the scourge of plastic pollution
The stricken creature – named Earth by rescuers – was spotted in distress at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve and was rescued by volunteers from Natureland Seal Sanctuary on May 23.
It is believed the nylon wire got stuck around her neck when she was a pup and has got increasingly deep as she has grown to around six months old.
She weighed just 64 pounds (29kg) – around a third less than a healthy seal – when she was rescued.
The wire had carved a large wound around three-quarters of her neck, narrowly missing her throat.
She is being treated with anti-inflammatory medication and is gaining weight and due to be released back into the wild in the next two weeks.
Natureland manager Matt Yeadon said: ‘It’s the worst I’ve seen for a while.
The wound inflicted on the seal by the nylon wire was badly infected and the wound was a couple of inches deep
The sanctuary that rescued her, Natureland, said if she had been left in the state she was found in, the animal most likely would have died from her injuries
‘Someone at Gibraltar Point spotted her and called us when they realised she was in a bad way.
‘It was badly infected and the wound was a couple of inches deep – it was very nasty.’
The sanctuary said if she had been left in that state the animal most likely would have died from her injuries.
Natureland has taken in and released 806 seals this year.
In a statement, the sanctuary said: ‘There are many more cases like Earth’s that rescue centres across the world have to deal with every single day, and the time for change is now.’
Please remember to dispose of your waste responsibly, recycle when you can, and avoid littering at all costs, as it could cost an animal more than a neck wound.’
Natureland manager Richard Yeadon said that he has only seen injuries like Earth’s three times in the last ten years.
Many of the rescued mammals at the sanctuary are suffering from illness, dehydration or been separated from their pack.