The repercussions of humanity on our home planet are starting to show their face. Across the world, one of the biggest issues is the amount of plastic that is being washed away by the ocean. It seems like it would never be seen again, but this plastic is showing up in very unfortunate places. Like the stomach of a green sea turtle.
This horrible story started when a beautiful sea green turtle showed up on the beach in Thailand. A passerby noticed that the turtle seemed to be struggling to move. Eventually, he stopped moving at all because he was dead.
Someone called a vet who showed up and figured out exactly what was wrong with the poor creature. His entire stomach was filled to the brim with rubber bands and plastic refuse, making him unable to feed properly.
These turtles are rare and many years old, yet this poor guy and many others are being filled with our plastic trash. Much of this comes from developing countries where the government doesn’t have as many recycling programs.
Thailand itself is one of the biggest consumers of plastic, despite their moderate population (20th in 2010). This poor turtle is just one of literally thousands that are killed every single year due specifically to plastic waste.
While the green turtle is a protected species, those protections don’t extend to what they eat deep in the ocean. We don’t have control over the turtle’s lives, but we can do everything in our power not to throw plastic away into the ocean.
Unfortunately, even if the vast majority of countries adopted harsh policies on plastic waste it would still take years and years to recover from the damage already done.
“It was feeling weak and couldn’t swim,” veterinarian Weerapong Laovechprasit said. “The main cause of death was sea trash.”
The animal doctors did their best to save the poor turtle, but they couldn’t save him in time. Just another victim of many due to irresponsible humans throwing garbage into the ocean.
We think of ourselves as a well-developed species, but sometimes it’s clear that humans still have a lot of evolving to do. No matter your political affiliation, you should be against the blatant and open littering in the ocean.
In order to show the magnitude of this issue on a local scale, we dug up some figures to give context. Typically around 10 percent of washed up turtles appear to suffer from ingesting plastic and rubber waste.
This year, that number went all the way up to 50 percent and it’s absolutely unacceptable. Considering more than half of the 8 million tonnes of plastic disposed of in our beautiful oceans came from 5 Asian countries, it’s clear where we need to place the blame.
But we also have to do everything we can at home to stop this affliction from destroying ocean life as we know it. It’s worth the time and effort it takes to recycle if it will keep animals like this poor sea turtle from eating your plastic waste.
What do you think of the sad state of our plastic-filled oceans? Share in the comments.