One hundred and two sea turtles inhabiting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Mediterranean Sea were the subject of the study by the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the United Kingdom—and all 102 of the creatures were found with plastics, microplastics and other synthetics in their digestive systems. Microplastics were found in nearly all the species of marine animals, from tiny zooplankton at the base of the marine food web to fish larvae, dolphins and now turtles. A total of about 800 particles less than half a centimeter long were found in the turtles' guts, with scientists finding an average of 150 pieces of plastic in each animal. The Mediterranean was found to be the most polluted body of water the scientists studied, with some turtles' bodies containing 500 plastics.
The most common materials found inside the turtles were pieces of tires, marine equipment, cigarettes, clothing and microbeads used in some cosmetic products. Smaller plastics may not present a choking danger for sea turtles as larger materials do, but they can cause other health problems for the animals. They may possibly carry contaminants, bacteria or viruses, or they may affect the turtle at a cellular or sub-cellular level. This requires further investigation.
The world's governments and corporations are not doing enough to reduce plastic pollution—and marine life is suffering as a result. This global environmental crisis must be tackled at the source for the sake of marine life, the world's oceans, our health and our communities.
As individuals we can do a lot to save our seas. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Ditch single use plastics, use reusable recyclable compostable natural eco friendly products.
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