A juvenile green sea turtle, too weak to swim, was found washed up on the shores of Chanthaburi Province, Thailand on June 4th and died 2 days later due to ingesting a massive amount of plastic. A necropsy revealed that its stomach was so full of plastic pollution that it hadn’t been able to eat, despite the marine center’s best efforts. After an attempt at intravenous feeding the turtle succumbed to starvation.
The green turtle is listed as an endangered species but unfortunately that doesn’t afford it the protection it deserves. The contents of this turtle’s stomach revealed many rubber bands, fishing gear, pieces of balloons, and other bits of trash. To see just how much plastic this single turtle ingested highlights the entirety of destruction that oceans and marine life are victim to because of pollution:
This death follows that of a washed up pilot whale on June 3rd, killed nearby on the Thailand-Malaysia border after consuming 17 pounds of plastic, including 80 plastic bags. These deaths by plastic are becoming all to common.
With 8 million tons a year dumped into oceans, plastic pollution has been the cause of many ocean casualties, including beloved endangered species, and continues to threaten our ecosystem. As uplifting as small-scale efforts, like the outlawing of straws, are, a global shift in our use of plastic needed to happen twenty years ago. We must stop using single-use plastic and we must stop polluting the ocean. A massive restructuring of waste management, including fishing gear, and enforcement of new policy, if ignored will destroy the ocean.