GIBRALTAR has promised tough new legislation against plastic following the deaths of two Northern Gannet birds this week.
One bird died of starvation after a plastic biscuit wrapper got stuck in its stomach, preventing it from ingesting its food.
Another died after becoming trapped in a plastic netting.
A government statement read: “The plastic found inside the Gannet was in the form of a single wrapper of Marie biscuits, which probably shimmered in the water, making the Gannet think it was a fish.
“It cannot be determined where this bird, an adult, ingested the plastic. It could have been anywhere between its nesting sites in the north and its winter quarters, but the message is the same wherever it happened. Plastic in the Environment will cause death.
“This is the second gannet in less than a week to die because of plastic – the first was entangled in plastic tape and rope.
“Also very recently, a rare visitor to Gibraltar, a Purple Sandpiper,was rescued from the shore entangled in netting. Once again, despite best efforts, the bird died.”
It added: “The Department is finalising legislation on plastics, and is engaging with the construction industry with a view to reducing single use plastic in that sector.”
Minister for the Environment and Climate Change John Cortes said: “Having watched these magnificent birds around our shores ever since I was a child, and having had the privilege of seeing them in nesting colonies in the Channel Islands, the tragic death of this Gannet saddens me greatly.
“And it angers me to know that it has died due to the direct effect of my own species. We are responsible for so much harm to our wildlife.
“As a community we must reduce the use of plastic and recycle what we use. We know what we have to do.
“Government will be publishing laws about this soon and, together with NGOs will continue to campaign. But we don’t need laws to know what we have to do.”