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Plastic pollution kills over half million crabs: Study

Cocos islands

‘These results are shocking but perhaps not surprising,’ says researcher

An estimated 570,000 hermit crabs have been killed on two island groups after being trapped in plastic waste, according to a new study.

The latest figures on the plastic pollution threat to marine life came from the joint work by scientists including researchers from Natural History Museum in London.

“The researchers, who previously revealed that Cocos and Henderson islands are littered with millions of pieces of plastic, found that piles of plastic pollution on beaches create both a physical barrier and a series of potentially deadly traps for hermit crabs,” the museum said in a statement on Thursday.

The study showed that some 61,000 crabs got trapped in plastics on Henderson Island, while 508,000 crabs died on the Cocos islands, which means one to two crabs per meter square of beach were being killed by litter.

“These results are shocking but perhaps not surprising, because beaches and the vegetation that fringes them are frequented by a wide range of wildlife,” said Jennifer Lavers, who led the study.

The team of the research noted that mass death of these crabs species is undocumented and requires a substantial urgent investigation.


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