The Plastic Crisis
Editor’s note: This is part of a series for #SeaTurtleWeek highlighting some of the threats faced by sea turtles today. A different threat will be highlighted each day. For more information on other Sea Turtle Week activities offered by the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, please go to our website or visit us on Facebook and Instagram.
Sea turtles and other marine life face growing threats from plastic and other debris.
Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags and other plastic items, such as straws and wrappers, for food sources. A plastic bag looks much like a jellyfish in the water.
Ingested plastic may damage a sea turtle’s digestive system or keep it from eating enough nutritious items. Hatchlings are opportunistic eaters. More than 90 percent of hatchlings have been found to have ingested plastics.
Sea turtles also may become entangled in marine debris, such as fishing line, ropes, and nets.
Beaches littered with plastic debris pose a hazard to nesting adult sea turtles and hatchlings headed to the ocean.
Here are some simple steps you can take to make a difference:
- Refuse single-use plastic items
By choosing reusable water bottles, shopping bags, straws, utensils, and other items, you are reducing plastic waste.
- Choose plastic-free options
When shopping or eating out, consider the amount of plastic packaging that a product is in and frequent businesses and restaurants that do not use polystyrene or plastic containers.
- Recycle discarded fishing line
Properly dispose of monofilament fishing line, ropes and other fishing gear to keep plastic out of waterways.
- Pick up litter
If you see trash or debris, place it in a trash or recycling bin.
- Share what you know
By talking with others, you can raise awareness about the threat of plastic pollution and ways to help make a difference.