300 Pieces Of Plastic Found In Turtle

A dead green sea turtle recently washed up at South Ballina Beach in Australia was found to have over 300 pieces of plastic (photo) in its digestive system.
According to Rochelle Ferris from Australian Seabird Rescue, while it was the most shocking case she has seen in 15 years, the group sees 40 or 50 sea turtles each year that have ingested plastic – and that’s only over a 160 mile stretch of coastline.
It’s believed turtles eat plastic thinking it to be one of their favourite foods – jellyfish. The plastic can obstruct the creature’s gastrointestinal tract, causing a number of health problems and in some cases, starvation. 
Green sea turtles aren’t the only species to ingest plastic – over a third of 371 leatherback turtle necropsies carried out between 1968 and 2009 found it present. 
Plastic pollution in our oceans is a serious problem and it’s not one confined to coastal waters off heavily populated areas. I’ve found pieces of plastic bags in sharks and tuna caught many miles offshore from coastlines where there is very little in the way of settlement. 
Plastic waste has also been found to concentrate in specific areas; such as in a region known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s estimated 100 million tons of plastic is in this area, which is thought to be nearly twice the size of the continental United States. Other similar plastic trash vortices have been found elsewhere around the world. 
As plastic takes so long to break down, this is a major environmental problem that isn’t going to go away anytime soon; even if improper disposal of plastic ceased today. As that isn’t going to happen, the problem is only going to get worse. Even where plastics do degrade quickly, they can leach toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A into aquatic environments.
Most people who care about the environment wouldn’t dream of throwing plastic into waterways or the ocean – but there’s more we can do. When at the beach, dedicate a bit of time picking up plastic rubbish if any is around. Doing so goes beyond just removing an eyesore, it may save a turtle or another marine creature’s life.