A clean-up effort is underway on Tasmania's Bruny Island after reports of a bean bag bursting on a beach which could pose a risk to local marine life. The tiny balls were scattered throughout a stretch of the sand at Adventure Bay, along with some in the adjoining bushland. Discovery Ranger Claire Mason from the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) found out about the litter on Friday and understood the balls came from a burst bean bag. "On the beach and a bit of the bush alongside the beach there are thousands, if not millions, of tiny little polystyrene balls," she said.
Polystyrene is kind of aerated plastic and so when that gets out into the ocean it floats on the surface, so it can travel a really long way because it's so light-weight. Marine life, especially seabirds, eat it and mistake it for food.
That can cause blockages and cause them to feel full and then starve. Chemicals in the tiny balls can also cause problems. Because it's plastic it contains heaps of toxic chemicals. When they break down in the ocean or when they're inside birds or other marine life, it leaches into their muscles and tissues and organs and can cause all kinds of disease and negative health impacts.
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