Plastic bags, small lids and even lollipop sticks were among the 317 pieces of plastic found in the digestive system of a green sea turtle who washed ashore on a New South Whales beach earlier this month.
The young turtle was the worst case Rochelle Ferris and her team of volunteers at Australian Seabird Rescue had seen during their 15 years of work in the area.
The team responds to “about 40 sea turtle strandings a year that are directly related to plastic ingestion,” according to Ferris. Unfortunately, the turtles mistake the plastic pieces for food.
A shocking 36 percent of sea turtles are affected by marine debris, such as plastic, according to recent research at the University of Queensland. Although the Australian Federal Government has addressed the issue, it is obvious that more needs to be done to reduce the amount of waste entering the ocean and inevitably destroying its inhabitants.
This tragic death demonstrates the negative impact we have on our oceanic friends. Lessen your impact by remembering the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
For more information and to watch a video in which Ferris discusses the incident as well as the larger issues,go here: http://www.abc.net.au/local/videos/2011/06/30/3257970.htm?site=northcoast.
Photo courtesy of Plastic Oceans: Results of a trawl in an apparently crystal clear ocean