UN starts effort to spare migratory birds from lead poisons
As the world celebrates World Migratory Bird Day 2018, the United Nations (UN) began global efforts to spare migratory birds from lead poisons.
In a statement, UN said that among the significant, but often underestimated threats to migratory birds across the African-Eurasian Flyways – the major bird migration corridors which links Europe, Africa and Western Asia – is lead poisoning.
Right now, the UN Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), two international environment treaties behind World Migratory Bird Day, are driving international efforts to tackle this global threat.
Lead poisoning is caused when lead is released into the environment. Lead is a highly toxic heavy metal that is used for both fishing weights and hunting. When fired from a shot gun, hundreds of lead pellets fall into the wider environment putting wildlife at risk.
Between 400,000 and 1.5 million waterbirds alone die in Europe annually from ingesting this lead. The number of additional birds suffering health problems because of poisoning by lead ammunition is at least as large as the number killed by lead shot every year.
“Lead poisoning the world over is not only killing millions of birds. Lead in our environment is also an issue of human health which urgently needs to be addressed,” CMS Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers said.
Moving forward, CMS aims to address lead poisoning to prevent the risks to migratory birds and called for lead ammunition to be phased out across all habitats.
While many countries in North America and Europe have made progress to ban lead in wetlands, CMS wants to take the issue to a global level and extend it to all habitats.
To support this effort, CMS has formally established the Lead Task Group, a multi-stakeholder expert group bringing together the industry, the hunters and conservationists to help Member States facilitate concerted efforts to minimize poisoning of migratory birds from lead ammunition and fishing weights.