Sea Turtles vs. Plastics

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Before reading this post, make sure you take a look at my last post about micro-plastics and the impact they are having on the overall health of our oceans. That post was written to leave you feeling empathetic for our ocean creatures and wanting to actively put forth that littttttttle bit of extra effort into helping them!!

More and more often we are hearing about the sea turtles and how they are being negatively effected by human behaviour, but how much of an effect are we really having on them? What harm are we really causing them?

I recently read an article written by individuals working with the Clear Water Marine Aquarium where readers were introduced to Chex, a rescued juvenile sea turtle. Chex-Turtle-Balloon-String

You can see that there is a balloon ribbon around him, which the rescuers of Chex found coming out of his back-end with the plastic balloon still attached and entangled within his organs. He was found floating in the sea and struggling to dive [tear].

When sea turtles cannot properly submerge, this is often caused from air bubbles or gas building up inside them, which in turn causes them trouble feeding and/or reproducing, and makes it very difficult for them to stay with their families. “This in turn makes them more vulnerable to the possibility of being hit by a passing boat, getting entangled within fishing nets/lines, and increases their predators chances of finding them” (Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 2018).

Inevitably, the process of gas and air bubbles building up inside sea turtles is a naturally occurring process. As the turtles move from above sea level to below quite often, it is easy for air bubbles to develop while they take a breath before re-submerging. The real problem here, and what continues to baffle me, is why so many humans continue to increase the turtles chances of ingesting plastic items that can force an air buildup?

Why are we still not properly disposing of our plastics!? Why are we still using plastic straws and spoons in restaurants? WHY are we still releasing balloons into the air!?

There is a reason why balloon and lantern release ceremonies are illegal in some states and countries around the world.

Each and every time that you use a plastic straw or spoon, release a balloon into the air, or choose not to take a few extra steps to properly recycle whatever other plastics you use throughout the day, you’re choosing to have an affect on the lives of our sea turtles and other ocean creatures every day.

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop

P.S. If you don’t use a plastic straw to drink your water in your own home, why do you need one when you go out to eat? 

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