About 40 percent of seabirds surveyed around the world had toxic substances derived from plastic waste in their bodies amid concern over marine plastic pollution, according to a recent study by two Japanese universities.

The research conducted by Hokkaido University and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology from 2008 to 2016 found that about 43 percent of the seabirds had ingested toxic chemicals such as ultraviolet absorbers.

Harmful substances such as brominated flame retardants and phthalate esters were also detected in most of the birds tested in 12 of the 15 regions surveyed, including Awashima Island in Niigata Prefecture.