Liverpool digital agency joins fight against the plastic threat to seabirds

Connect has been tasked by the Environmental Research Institute to design and build a new website that will help monitor the problem. Tony McDonough reports

Plastic litter poses a huge threat to seabirds


Liverpool digital agency Connect is to join the battle against plastic littering in the sea which is having a devastating impact on seabirds.

The Environmental Research Institute (North Highland College, UHI, which is part of the University of the Highland and Islands) has hired the firm to design and build a new website that will help monitor the problem.

It will collect data and report on the number of seabirds becoming entangled due to marine littering, using this information as a guide to detect hotspots.

The long-term aim of the project is to develop relationships with companies to encourage them to recycle marine plastic litter and waste, increase resource efficiency and encourage the move to a more circular economy.

People accessing the website will be able to report incidents using a global interactive map and submit images to inform their studies.  The data gathered will be extracted regularly for analysis and research.

The project has a global reach, with partner organisations from Scotland, England, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Greenland helping to combat the issue. Connect’s managing director, Janet Symes, said: “Connect is incredibly proud to be chosen to work on this project.

“Thanks to the research undertaken by institutions like UHI, the public is becoming more aware of the need to protect our marine wildlife, but there is a huge amount of work to be done, and this new website will help to remedy that.”

Dr Neil James of the Environmental Research Institute, UHI, added: “Our research has highlighted the importance of gathering more information regarding the impact of marine plastic debris on seabirds.

“Through our collaboration, we will develop a solution that enables us to involve citizen scientists to gather information on entanglement of seabirds across the globe. This will better inform our research, and help identify the regions and species most at risk from anthropogenic waste and litter.”

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