Plastic // What are we doing to this poor planet and its creatures?
A recent study showed that more than half of the sea turtles in our vast oceans have consumed plastic debris. This plastic is floating around in large areas known as Gyres, or Garbage Vortexes.
Because of how currents and water affect the plastic, it breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics, and whilst these may not be visible to the naked eye, they are massively damaging to any marine life that consumes them.
Death by plastic
The turtles die after consuming plastic because it cuts a hole in their stomach, causing internal injuries, or by blocking the gut, so they can’t eat real food, and they starve.
The lead author of a white paper in a journal called ‘Global Change Biology’, Qamar Schuyle, said “The results indicate that approximately 52 per cent of turtles worldwide have eaten debris.” A further study stated that over the next 35 years, plastic pollution in the oceans could become so destructive to marine wildlife that 99% of seabirds will have eaten it accidentally. Already, many seabirds are being found dead, having ingested plastic.
Some turtles and marine life are more at risk than others, as their eating and swimming habits dictate where they are more likely to be in the ocean. In the open ocean, where Gyres are more likely to appear, the wildlife is most at risk of debris ingestion.
There are various international ocean clean up programmes going on, but they are all futile unless we can stop the 12,000 tonnes of plastic that keeps getting added to the ocean each year.
Are you shocked by the amount of pollution in the ocean? Tweet us @plasticexpertuk