A duck has been saved by the RSPCA after getting stuck with a plastic ring around its neck.
The dangerous situation could have been fatal for the bird but the animal was rescued before the litter could inflict any lasting harm.
It is believed the plastic ring is the same sort used to package cans of beer together.
Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Lauren Bradshaw was one of the three people to find and rescue the duck on the canal near Sellars Square in Manchester on Sunday August 23.
She said: ‘This is why it’s so important that people dispose of their litter properly.
‘Litter can have such a detrimental impact on our wildlife and this duck was very fortunate that the plastic ring did not cause any injuries.
‘It’s also important to cut any plastic rings so that if they are discarded or disposed of, they will not be able to trap animals like this.’
She reveals that herself and her colleague Steve Wickham are water trained officers and had to enter the water to reach the bird, which was in distress.
Our plan was to round-up the duck and get him to a bridge as the width of the canal is smaller there and would make it easier to catch,’ she says.
‘The plucky duck managed to escape us a couple of times but eventually we managed to net and catch him.’
She adds that the plastic was fortunately not tight around the animal’s neck and did not appear to cause any injuries or result in breathing issues.
However, plastic stuck around the neck and throat area is a hazard for many marine animals, as the animals think it is food and, once trapped, are unable to remove it.
Efforts to do so often only succeed in tightening the litter, making the situation more perilous.
The RSPCA says it has received more than 21,600 reports of animals injured or caught in litter over the past five years.
Food wrappers overtake cigarette butts as the top litter item
Plastic-based food wrappers have ousted cigarette butts as the dominant form of litter polluting our beaches and waterways, experts have revealed.
Each September, the US-Based environmental group Ocean Conservancy holds the International Coastal Cleanup — a single day of litter picking across the globe.
According to newly-released figures, last years’ cleanup — involving more than 943,000 volunteers — saw some 4,771,600 food wrappers collected.
These included sweet wrappers, crisp packets, drink pouches and similar — all of which are typically composed of layers of non-recyclable, low-density plastics.
This is the first time that wrappers have been the largest type of litter found during the International Coastal Cleanup, which has been running since 1986.
In last year’s cleanup, participants collected a total of 32.5 million pieces of rubbish — weighing in at 20.8 million pounds — including 4.2 million cigarette butts.
Experts have estimated that 11 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean each year — impacting more than 800 species of marine wildlife.