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Why did the insects on the number plates of cars worry scientists?

In a unique warning, scientists have expressed concern about the “declining numbers of insects on car number plates” in the United Kingdom, in reference to the decrease in the number of flying insects in the country.

A recent survey by Bugs Matter Citizen Science showed that flying insect populations in Britain were collapsing faster than ever, with numbers down 64 per cent from what they were in 2004.

The latest figures, based on an annual survey of insects found on car number plates, revealed a significant drop over the past year, with 5 per cent fewer insects detected in 2022 than in 2021.

Charitable organizations concerned with preserving the environment called for urgent action to address and reverse this deterioration, stressing that it has great repercussions on ecosystems everywhere, threatening food supplies for a wide range of animals as well as humans, according to the newspaper. The British Independent.

The two charities running the survey, the Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife, warned that the world “needs more research on insects, on a larger scale, to better understand the scale of the decline and what needs to be done to tackle the problem”.

“Insects support food chains, pollinate most of the world’s (agricultural) crops, and provide natural pest control services,” the two organizations said in a statement announcing the survey results.

“Without insects, life on Earth would collapse and the survival of humanity on our planet would be threatened,” the statement added.

What are the reasons?

Reasons behind the rapid decline in insect populations worldwide include, “loss and damage to habitats, air pollution, climate crisis, pollution of waterways, pesticide use, and (construction) development of wild spaces.”

Buglife’s chief operating officer, Andrew Whitehouse, said: “For the second year in a row, BugsMatter has shown potentially catastrophic declines in flying insect abundance. Urgent action is required to address the loss of diversity and abundance in insect life.”

He noted that the matter will be brought up to the leaders participating in the “COP-15” summit of the United Nations in Montreal, to discuss the global deterioration in biodiversity.

He continued: “We will look to our leaders at Cop15 to take decisive action to restore nature at scale – both for wildlife and for the health and well-being of future generations.”

Whitehouse called for their survey method to be applied to other countries to get a better understanding of insect decline around the world.

It is noteworthy that the 2023 “Bugs Matter” poll season will start on June 1.



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