Plastic Content of a Sea Turtle


Photo: Plastic debris found in the gastrointestinal content of a juvenile green turtle captured in Argentina / Victoria González Carman.

Stomach contents of a juvenile sea turtle accidentally captured off the coast of Argentina reveals just how polluted our ocean is with plastic:

About 0.25 percent of all plastic ends up in the ocean. That might not sound like much, but humanity produces about 260 million tons of plastic a year. Tiny fractions add up fast. Oceanic plastic is pulled into the center of rotating currents, or gyres, where it’t degrade, but breaks into smaller and smaller pieces. Some pieces end up in plankton and algae, or drift to the ocean floor. Others are mistaken for food by turtles. [...]

One anecdote in the article, written by biologists Wallace Nichols of the California Academy of Science and the University of British Columbia’s Colette Wabnitz, stands out. “Relief of gastrointestinal obstruction of a green turtle off Melbourne beach, Florida, resulted in the animal defecating 74 foreign objects over a period of a month, including four types of latex balloons, different types of hard plastic, a piece of carpet-like material, and two 2- to 4-mm tar balls, they wrote.

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Yea, plastic was one of those revolutionary space-age inventions that changed how we live forever. I've begun reusing water bottles religiously, and have cloth bags for shopping. But I'm still going through lots of plastic in packaging. I saw an interesting documentary recently called "No-Impact Man" in which a couple tried to reduce their impact to zero.
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