Latest Study Reports Alarming News
It’s official, studies have confirmed that every sea turtle in the wild has pieces of plastic trash lodged in their stomach. If you think this isn’t much, imagine how much damage plastic pieces of junk would cause in your stomach.
UK researchers sounded the alarm after examining over 100 turtles from 3 different seas and oceans. Having the study results in mind, the researchers warned that not just turtles, but all marine life, is affected by our governments’ empty promises of cutting back on plastic pollution. These animals are paying the price of our irresponsibility.
The study, which was supported by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, a marine conservation group, and the University of Exeter, looked at the turtles’ digestive systems. The turtles they examined were collected from the Mediterranean Sea, the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. They discovered small microplastic pieces, plastics and different synthetic items in the stomach of every single turtle they examined.
The study only further proves that we need to act fast towards the reduction of plastic waste released into our oceans and seas. Penelope Lindeque, one of the lead authors of the study added that we need to make sure these environments are healthy, clean and productive for the generations to come.
Sea Turtles from the Mediterranean are the Most Affected
The research team and Lindeque have been studying microplastic pollution for years. Over and over again, they discovered that almost every marine specie they examined had been contaminated by micro plastic pollutants.
From dolphins and whales, to fishes and microscopic plankton, every living form in our ocean has been confirmed to have accidentally eaten a piece of plastic. The fact that the study focuses on sea turtles just adds another innocent victim on the long list of sufferers.
Researchers from the latest study safely took our 800 small pieces of plastic from the stomach of 102 sea turtles. The largest piece they extracted was just under 0.5cm in length. According to their estimates, the average turtle would have over 150 plastic particles lodged somewhere in her digestive system. The exact number depended on the exact ocean or sea the turtle lived in.
The researchers examined turtles from three bodies of water and the results showed that the Mediterranean Sea was the most polluted one. Some of the turtles collected from this sea were found to have over 500 pieces of microplastic in their digestive systems.
The Health Hazards Microbeads and Microplastics Pose
The pieces of plastic the researchers recovered from the turtles came from numerous different sources. The most common sources were particles of polyester clothing, cigarettes, marine hear and car tires.
There were also microbeads in many of the animals’ digestive systems. Microbeads are tiny spheres made from plastic which were all the rage for many beauty products like facial scrubs and body washes until recently. The States were the first to ban their use in 2015 and Britain followed in 2018.
The researchers warned about the health hazards of these little bits of plastics and microbeads and said they’re not to be underestimated. These little chunks of plastic may not be a choking hazard for animals per se, but they pose another kind of health hazard if the animals accidentally ingest them.