Another victim of plastic. Despite the effort of the vets, the example of Caretta Caretta, a species of sea turtles, rescued along the Muravera coast (Sardinia) by a little boy called Gabriele passed away. Unfortunately, this is just one of the countless cases of death of sea creatures.

Two Caretta Caretta sea turtles playing at sea
Two Caretta Caretta sea turtles playing at sea, Eco cruising photo, via wikipedia

Plastic, the silent killer of seas and oceans

The experts claim that together with trawl fishing, plastic is the main killer of turtles. The presence of plastic in the ocean doesn’t only suffocate these species, it also compromises nidifications.

52% of sea turtles have ingested plastic

As claimed by a study of the University of Queensland published on Global Change Biology, at least 52% of these poor creatures have ingested debris.

This happens because unfortunately, turtles can’t distinguish plastic bags from jellyfish, and once they have swallowed them, there’s no chance to go back and make up for it. Not one hundred, not ten, one single plastic bag is enough to lead a turtle to death.

Plastic ingestion and its consequences

On balance, there are two possible fates for these animals, and none of them is preferable to the other: death or health-damaging. There is a long list of severe damages that can be caused by plastic ingestion, poisoning, and intestinal obstruction and perforation are just some examples. But a slow death is the worst of all deaths. Sometimes the presence of debris doesn’t damage organs but makes the turtle feel sated. Eventually, the animal ends up starving.

The threat represented by plastic ensured that the Caretta Caretta was included in the IUCN red list of endangered species, at top of which we spot the olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) as the most at‐risk turtle species.

Photo by watersshannon05S, via Flickr
Photo by watersshannon05S, via Flickr

How much do we pollute?

Unfortunately, talking about pollution means dealing with big numbers. Our country produces 4 million tons of garbage,80% of which comes from the industrial packaging, and every year pours 0,5 tons of plastic rubbish in the natural environment. To make it clearer, it has been registered that more than 33 thousand of bottles end up in the Mediterranean Sea every passing minute. This threat is real and extremely dangerous, not only for marine turtles but also for all other animal species.

If we are not going to do anything concrete, soon we’ll be able to see this magnificent example exclusively from behind a screen. The world needs people to commit, now. It’s time to say NO to plastic!

Author: Alessia Framba

My name is Alessia, I'm 21 years old and I'm studying modern languages for touristic and business mediation. I'm a down-to-earth, straightforward and sincere girl. I love animals and nature. A long walk in the open air is all I want after a week of crazy study!
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