Workers' earplugs polluting waterways, killing wild birds

THOUSANDS of dumped earplugs used by Gladstone's industrial workforce are killing our wild birds.

About 16,000 workers use two sets of the foam plugs daily, with many discarding them into the Gladstone harbour while waiting for ferries to take them home.

The plugs are eaten by birds such as the common brush turkey, leading to blockages of the digestive system.

A common brush turkey was a recent victim of irresponsible littering.

It was found dead with two ear buds stuck in its stomach.

Scientist Dr Rodd Steinemann, who made the discovery, said huge concerns lay with the sheer number of ear buds polluting our waterways.

"The issue is, any number of wildlife species could be suffering from the dim actions of a few people," he said, "including a number of endangered species endemic to the central Queensland region."

Dr Scott Wilson from CQUniversity and the Smart Water Research Centre agrees the discovery of ear buds along the foreshore is a prevalent occurrence in Gladstone.

A representative from a local construction company spoke to The Observer regarding thoughtless littering.

"Disposal of any waste should be managed appropriately and is proactively supported by the projects," he said.