Skip the Plastic, Save the Turtles

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Skip the Plastic, Save the Turtles

[Ed. Note: If for some inexplicable reason you must use plastic, the least you can do is to dispose of it safely, where it will not cause injuries and death to thousands of species of land and sea animals. Please also read Plastic Packing Straps Killing Sea Animals and Albatross Chicks Full of Human Garbage.]

From Earth in Transition

What happens to the turtles when they eat the plastic? As bits of plastic get stuck in their digestive systems, it mixes with food and decomposes, creating gas, literally inflating the turtles like balloons so they are unable to dive. They can’t feed or avoid boats.

Fish in the North Pacific are ingesting plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000 to 24,000 tons per year.

A young sea turtle, found on a beach in Australia, had starved to death because she had 317 pieces of plastic in her stomach.

Australian Seabird Rescue volunteers said it was the worst example of plastic ingestion they had seen in 15 years.

A new study from Earthwatch in Queensland looked at the guts of over 120 dead turtles found in Moreton Bay. Dr. Kathy Townsend found plastic rubbish in over 30 per cent of them.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Townsend describes what happens to the turtles when they eat the plastic. As bits of plastic get stuck in their digestive systems, it mixes with food and decomposes, creating gas, literally inflating the turtles like balloons so they are unable to dive. They can’t feed or avoid boats.

“It also means that they basically become very dehydrated,” Townsend said. “And they starve to death, and this can last for months.”

Another study – this one by the Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) – found that fish in the North Pacific are ingesting plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000 to 24,000 tons per year.

Read more about the turtles at ABC – the Australian Broadcast Company. And more about the fish in Science Daily.


These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.
Chris Jordan Photographic Arts, Albatross Chicks Full of Human Garbage