This week, PPC was approached by Ulrich Wernery, director of the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. In a frank and unsettling report, complete with harrowing photographs, he lays out what is an urgent tragedy taking place in the desert,

along the beaches, and in the mountains of the UAE. Camels, sheep, goats and cattle, as well as the protected Arabian Onyx, the Sand Gazelles and other wildlife are dying after ingesting plastic – just like the albatross birds in the Midway Atoll.

As the images show, these animals are eating the plastic pollution left behind by visitors, travelers, dune and wadi bashers – and then choking on it, or starving to death because the plastic blocks their intestines. The pollution in the desert is already an outrage. The death of these innocent animals is inhumane, unnecessary and horrific.

His son, David, said his father has noticed an increase in the number of animal deaths due to plastic pollution. “My father took up this subject a few years ago, and since then has tirelessly advocated an awareness to stop the littering.”

The emirates are wealthy but developing nations. They have trash collection services, but the education of the population lags behind. “Most people’s attitude is “Just drop it, others are there to pick it up,””said David. “The country as a whole has to start a major education program on this.”

These images are a heartbreaking reminder that plastic pollution is everywhere.

All images are copyright of Dr. Ulrich Wernery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.