A photo of a baby turtle washed up in Boca Raton, Florida has gone viral on social media. And not for no reason. Beside the lifeless body of the turtle lie hundreds of plastic pieces that the turtle had consumed. One counted the pieces of plastic and the count stood at 104.
“It’s washback season at Gumbo Limbo and weak, tiny turtles are washing up along the coastline needing our help,” the Facebook post reads. “Unfortunately, not every washback survives. 100% of our washbacks that didn’t make it had plastic in their intestinal tracts. This turtle, which would fit in the palm of your hand, had eaten 104 pieces of plastic. This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free,” the Facebook post read.
People on social media asked whether all those plastics came from that single turtle which is so small that it would fit in the palm of our hand.
Sadly, yes, the centre replied.
According to CNN, the baby turtle was examined by Emily Mirowski, a sea turtle rehabilitation assistant at the centre, before it died.
She said that the baby turtle was weak and emaciated. It was not doing well. A dissection of its stomach after it died revealed 104 pieces of plastic, ranging from bottle caps to balloons. What happens when a baby turtle eats too much plastic is that they think they are full and thereby they don’t eat leading to an acute nutritional deficiency.
According to reports, each year, thousands of marine turtles die after consuming or becoming entangled in plastic. According to the United Nations, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050 if current trends of using single-use plastics continue.
Pollution from plastic waste is now acknowledged as a major environmental problem of global concern. It has reached epidemic proportions with an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic now found in the oceans, 80-90% of which comes from land-based sources.