The waste of the pandemic
The penguin found on the beach in Juquehy (Brazil) could be the first animal to die due to the ingestion of garbage derived from the pandemic.
On September 9, a Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) was found dead on Juquehy beach, north of the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The cause of death was the ingestion of a model N-95 mask, as revealed by the autopsy performed by the Argonauta Institute, responsible for monitoring the beach on the north coast of Sao Paulo.
The Magellanic penguin is medium in size, measuring between 61 and 76 cm long and weighing between 2.7 and 6.5 kg. It lives in the southernmost part of South America, both in the east and the west. They feed mainly on sardines, squid and crustaceans in general. In winter they migrate from the south of Argentina to the north looking for food, and occasionally some separate from the group and end up reaching the coasts of Brazil.
According to the Argonauta Institute, masks have become a new type of waste throughout Brazil. The data shows that 113 masks were found on the beaches of northern Brazil between April 16 and September 9.
The oceanographer and president of the Argonauta Institute, Hugo Gallo Neto, emphasizes that there is an increase in garbage found on beaches. “We have already been alerting the appearance of masks, and this case is proof that this type of waste causes harm and mortality also in marine fauna, in addition to the irresponsibility of the person who dispenses a mask in an inappropriate place and with a risk of contamination for other people”. He also adds to his statements the fact that the penguin found in Juquehy could be the first animal to die from the ingestion of garbage derived from the pandemic.
These facts, added to what we have been seeing so far, show us how, even with the confinement that we live derived from the pandemic, nature and the marine environment not only do not show signs of recovery but that its state worsens in a way that does not have been seen so far. But always with a common element, the action of the human species.