Swan picking through plastic shows just how bad the waste problem is in the UK

A heartbreaking video showing a swan picking through plastic shows just how bad the waste problem has become in the UK.

Video footage shows the white bird moving the rubbish with its beak as it tries to move through the water in Salford Quays, Manchester Evening News reports.

The sad scene was captured by Stefan Gumbs, an actor and presenter on Unity Radio.

The 29-year-old said: “I was jogging around Media City and the swan was just in the corner moving litter. Everyone was walking past.

“I just thought ‘this isn’t right’ and took the video to raise awareness. It really struck me.”

Stefan said he, no doubt along with many, had read about plastic pollution in our waterways.

But he added: “Sometimes I guess I put it to the back of my mind. But this was an eye-opener.

“An animal going through rubbish just shouldn’t happen.

“It looked like it was trying to find something.

“When I was younger I didn’t think about littering but now I know we have to think about the world, we have to look after the planet.”

Stefan said Salford Quays usually looks clean, adding: “But this just shows we need to start clearing up our mess.”

Many viewers of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet have been horrified to see the toll plastic pollution is taking on marine life.

And this swan sighting comes as a new report shows there are high levels of plastic pollution in waterways across the UK.

In fact, scientists recently recorded the highest’s level of pollution ever in a riverbed in Denton.

The team of investigators from the University of Manchester tested for microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic from microbeads in cosmetics, microfibres from synthetic clothing and fragments – across 40 sites along 10 rivers in the region.

And one section of the River Tame, near to Reddish Vale Country Park, was found to have 517,000 plastic particles per square metre of sediment – double the previous record for any waterway or ocean in the world. The beaches off South Korea were the next worst.

The average across the Irwell and Mersey, fed by the Tame, was 84,030 pieces per square metre.

All these waterways eventually lead to the oceans, where this form of pollution is fatal to marine life.

On the bed of Salford Quays, the team even found microplastics in tiny worms which will be eaten by fish and potentially work their way up the food chain.

The video comes as Theresa May calls on Commonwealth leaders to join the fight against marine plastic in a Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance.

She announced a £60 million package to fund research and help clean up the oceans.

The PM said: "The UK public has shown passiona dn energy in the fight against plastic waste, and I believe the Commonwealth is uniquely placed to further this transformative action."

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