Baby turtles hit hard by plastic pollution: Study

Research shows that most young turtles caught off the Queensland coast have ingested plastics.

Around eighty-three per cent of green turtles and eighty-six per cent of loggerhead turtles found off the coast of Queensland were found to have plastics within them. The study comes from Deakin, James Cook, and Murdoch universities.

Professor Mark Hamann of James Cook University said: “plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing threats to marine wildlife.”

“Plastics now make up eighty percent of all marine debris and can be found everywhere, from surface waters to deep-sea sediments,”

Professor Mark Hamann of James Cook University

“Plastic ingestion and entanglement, which can cause suffocation, has now been documented for every species of marine turtle.”

Professor Mark Hamann of James Cook University

The researchers examined the contents of the stomach, intestines, cloaca, and bladder of stranded or captured turtles collected from the Indian Ocean off Western Australia and the Pacific Ocean off Eastern Australia. One turtle found in the Indian Ocean contained 343 pieces of plastic while another in the Pacific Ocean contained 144. The proportion of turtles that had ingested plastic was much higher in the Pacific Ocean than in the Indian Ocean.

The research has just been published in the peer-reviewed Frontiers in Marine Science .

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