nesting in plastic

The remote, high-seas island Helgoland is the only habitat for northern gannets in Germany. Since 1991, it has been a refuge for up to 8,000 breeding pairs, which return to the cliffs every year to raise a single chick. However, marine plastic pollution has been an increasing problem. Confusing the plastic at sea for algae, the birds integrate ribbons from fishing nets into their nests. This results in approximately 14 birds perishing on the cliffs daily due to entan- glement and strangulation. It is estimated that today 98% of gannet nests contain plastic waste. This story depicts the contrast between the beauty and tragedy of these seabirds, while investigating scientific research and potential solutions for the critical marine plastic problem.

Das erste Mal, dass ich das Problem der Plastikverschmutzung auf lokaler Ebene erlebte, war im Januar 2020. Als Naturfotografin und Filmemacherin wollte ich schon seit vielen Jahren die abgelegene deutsche Insel Helgoland besuchen. Die Kegelrobben- und Seehundkolonien mit der Kamera einzufangen, war ein langfristiges Ziel. Doch was ich auf meiner Reise entdeckte, war ganz anders, als ich zunächst erwartet hatte.

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