« Do Dolphins and Whales Sleep? | Main | Rubbish on the shore - not just marine life that’s being affected »

Turtles vs.  Plastic

It is no secret that discarded/unwanted plastic finding its way into the oceans is an on-going threat to the marine environment. Many marine animals (including birds) are accidentally or even mistakenly ingesting these inedible plastics every day.

A prime example of this is in the case of the all loved sea turtles, which we have seen off of the boats here in Tenerife. These majestic creatures have a diet that consist mainly of high quantities of jellyfish.

However, I know from experience of being on boats, that even for the human eye it is difficult to tell what’s a jellyfish, and what’s actually a floating single-use plastic bag in the ocean. If it is sometimes difficult for humans to tell the difference how is a turtle supposed to? As the turtles fill their stomachs with items such as these, which provide no nutritional value to them, they are giving themselves a false sense of fulfilment, therefore the turtles unknowingly starve themselves naturally ending in weakness and mortality.

But there’s more to the story… PLASTIC STARWS! When you’ve spent ages finding the right shade of lipstick, applying it perfectly (or try to at least) with determination not to mess it up during the night, what is always the go-to when having a drink? We ask for a straw, don’t deny it!.. Did you know, turtles have been seen with straws lodged up their nostrils? I’m sure someone didn’t go along to the turtle and think “I don’t need this anymore, this seems like an appropriate place to put it”, but maybe it was dropped on the floor and not picked up and thrown away? Or maybe it was purposely thrown on the floor!? Or maybe, it WAS discarded appropriately, but lost on route to the garbage site… There are many ways items like these can end up in the marine environment and consequently, marine animals, whether it was discarded appropriately or not…

There are also many ways to help cut down on the number of plastic straws that end up lodged up a turtle’s nostril, for example, refuse the straw entirely, use a reusable metal one, perhaps?.. When it comes to the single-use bags, you’ve definitely heard it all before, use a reusable bag! Try not to buy the single use ones. It’s not for our benefit, but the benefit of the marine life, which, may not be around for our future generations to appreciate if plastic littering continues at current rates.

By Tinessa Patel - Tenerife Whale and Dolphin Conservation Research Officer

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

Get more from us on social media with FacebookTwitter , Instagram and YouTube.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>