You are here

Statement by Mr. Fernando Spina on World Migratory Bird Day 2019

Fernando Spina

Dr. Fernando Spina

Chair of the Scientific Council of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)
Instituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA)


Wanderers of the seas, masters of the open ocean winds, unique symbols of freedom from distance and boundaries, riders of huge roaring waves as well as fascinating creatures able to fly with their endless, strong and stiff wings also on totally calm and oily waters, all populations and species of the huge, tame, long-lived albatrosses are today at dramatic risk of extinction.

Among the main threats world albatrosses are confronted with is represented by floating plastic debris polluting the surface of even the most remote ocean currents. Unconsciously mistaking this plastic for squid, fish or other marine prey they snatch from surface waters, they swallow this waste and fly up to many hundreds kilometres to feed it to their chicks silently waiting at distant island colonies.

Dramatically indeed, new, man-made islands appear today across the oceans, and these are made solely of immense amounts of plastic debris strangling marine turtles, penguins and seals, suffocating whales and birds.

The World Migratory Bird Day 2019 is, within few days, most properly dedicated to the global issue of plastic pollution putting at risk the survival of so many wildlife and migratory bird species in particular.

X-ray images of albatross chicks’ stomachs full of plastic require no further proof and we have the duty of acting now to concretely contribute to reducing the use of plastic and of non-recyclable plastic in particular, at the global level.

When we are at the supermarket tomorrow and see a bunch of four apples placed in a styrofoam container and wrapped with further plastic film, we should think of the silent albatrosses which will mistake a piece of the same container for a floating squid and feed it to their offspring.

Let us ban disposable plastic now and let us influence marketing strategies by buying plastic-free. Together with the rest of the planet, we cannot accept the roaring, immense ocean waves no longer ridden by the vibrating wings of the silent and innocent albatrosses.

Back to the 2019 Statements Page