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Don’t Damage the Wildlife in Your Efforts to Rid the World of Plastics.

March 29th, 2019 in News by admin

A short but happy tale of environmental clean-up and unusual sites in which to shelter.

A few days ago, on a site where we are carrying out a major research trial we carried out a litter pick: there is a lot of windborne plastics and other rubbish coming onto site from a nearby layby. Plastic bottles and car parts magically appear on-site. A remarkable amount of car parts also litter the site, left over from car burnings around the site from the 1970s through to recent times. The site has several carcasses of rusting cars, we are not removing these as several are popular nest sites for many bird types.

One piece of car, an old hard plastic air filter lying by the trial area was removed along with the rest of the rubbish to be sacked up for removal, fell from the wheelbarrow; encouraging a dog to take an interest, sniffing and wanting to get in to the casing of the filter.

Thinking there might be a mouse inside, the top of the filter was popped off, not a mouse but a Great Crested newt was staring up at us; swiftly it was photographed and carefully checked to ensure it was healthy before being returned to the air filter and put in a shady, safe location on site.

The interior of the filter did show that it had been the store of acorns for a Wood mouse at some time but was now damp with soil and decomposing air filter material filling much of the space.

When collecting rubbish remember to be aware of what might be utilising it, check waste carefully and do not remove it from site beforehand. This was a particularly unusual find as the newt is a specially protected reptile and those people that handle them must be trained and licensed.

Before we started this research project the site was inhospitable to all life as the surfaces were acidic and rainwater runoff was at times pH 0.5 to 2. Such a change has taken place in the last few months with now rainwater runoff pH ranging around 6.5 to 8 demonstrating the development towards valuable habitat and underscored by the presence of the newt.



Author: admin

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