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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Killed by pollution: Hundreds of pieces of plastic found inside stomach of sea turtle


Jagged pieces of plastic can cause fatal internal damage to turtles by perforating organs and causing a blockage in the bowels.

They look like the pieces of a colourful mosaic.

But these shards of plastic were found in the stomach of a young sea turtle that lost its battle against the rising tide of pollution.

Environmental campaigners say the image illustrates the deadly toll that our throwaway culture is having on marine life.

Sea turtles are prone to mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish, one of their favourite foods.

The plastic can block the digestive tract, leading to a slow and agonising death from starvation.

The juvenile green sea turtle that consumed this haul of plastic was found off the coast of Argentina. Adults can grow up to 44ins long.

Harmful: This collection of hundreds of coloured, jagged shards was found in sea turtle's stomach

In the latest issue of the Marine Turtle Newsletter, biologists said up to 75 per cent of green sea turtles examined had eaten plastic debris.

One was found to have swallowed items including four types of balloon, a piece of carpet-like material and two tar balls.

The report’s authors, Colette Wabnitz of the University of British Columbia and Wallace Nichols of the California Academy of Sciences, said: ‘The bodies of almost all marine species, including some of the most vulnerable and wildest species on the planet – animals that make nearly their entire living far from humans – now contain plastic.

source: dailymail


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