By Hannah Devlin Science Correspondent

Algae on drifting plastic waste gives off a sulfur compound which smells similar to the krill many marine birds feed on, researchers have discovered

Seabirds are enticed into eating plastic debris because it smells like their food, according to scientists.

The study found that drifting plastic waste accumulates algae and gives off a smell very similar to the krill that many marine birds feed on. The findings could explain why certain birds – including albatrosses and shearwaters – which rely on their sense of smell for hunting, are particularly vulnerable to swallowing plastic.