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Animals ingest, become entangled by and carry waste. This can both harm animals as well as move the waste through the environment and food chains.

Quick facts

Starvation of chicks due to ingestion of plastic
is causing a rapid decline in the breeding success of the Lord Howe Island Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes[1].


The Biological pathway involves waste material being transported by animals, either by physically moving items, or by ingesting waste material and then releasing it in different areas (by defecation, regurgitation or decomposition after death). It includes people walking and dropping litter, as well as animals knocking over bins or scavenging and distributing rubbish.

Birds are intelligent and can easily get into bins, stored food and industrial skips, moving waste through the environment. Easy to install solutions can deter crows, ibis and other birds from moving waste.


  1. ^ Birds Queensland (2020), Plastics and seabirds. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 September 2020].

Last updated: 10 May 2021

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2021) Biological, WetlandInfo website, accessed 25 June 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation