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ChanceTurtles

Turtles have a one in five chance of dying if they eat just one piece of plastic, according to new research

Turtles have a one in five chance of dying if they eat just one piece of plastic, according to new research


dead turtle sad wildlife animals marine life plastic bottle washed up ocean pollution
It’s now been confirmed
that a sea turtle that’s ingested just one piece of plastic has
more than a one in five chance of dying.

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  • Science now has definitive proof that plastic debris is
    killing sea turtles.
  • Australian scientists analysed nearly 1,000 turtles found
    dead and washed up on beaches.
  • Their study found that once a turtle has 14 plastic items in
    its gut there was a 50% likelihood that it would die.

Up until recently, it was unclear as to whether the plastic in
oceans directly contributed towards turtles dying early.

It’s now been confirmed that a sea turtle that has ingested just
one piece of plastic has more than a one in five chance of dying,
according to a study by researchers at CSIRO Oceans and
Atmosphere.

Analysis of nearly 1,000 turtles found dead and washed up on
beaches around Australia shows that the more plastic a turtle
consumes the greater the likelihood that it will die because of
it.


Plastic removed from large intestine of green sea turtle.
Just
some of the plastic removed from the large intestine of a green
sea turtle.

Kathy Townsend /
CSIRO


“We knew that turtles were consuming a lot of plastic, but we
didn’t know for certain whether that plastic actually caused the
turtles’ deaths, or whether the turtles just happened to have
plastic in them when they died,” said Dr Chris Wilcox, Principal
Research Scientist with CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere.

“In other words, we wanted to know ‘How much plastic is too much
plastic?’ for sea turtles.”

The scientists found that once a turtle had 14 plastic items in
its gut there was a 50% likelihood that it would cause death.
However, that’s not to say that a turtle won’t die if they
consume less than 14 pieces of plastic.


Read more:
Cigarette butts are the single biggest source of ocean trash,
according to a new report

Sea turtles were among the first animals recorded to be ingesting
plastic debris, a phenomenon that occurs in every region of the
world and in all seven marine turtle species.

Globally, it is estimated that 52% of all sea turtles have eaten
plastic. Determining the effect this is having on turtle
mortality is a step forwards for understanding the impact of
plastic pollution on sea turtle populations.

“Millions of tonnes of plastic debris is entering our world’s
oceans on a yearly basis,” said Dr Wilcox.

“The model we’ve developed can be adapted to help us understand
the impact of plastic ingestion not just on individuals, but
whole populations of other endangered marine species as well.

“The better we understand the issue, the better equipped we are
to address the problem, and work towards viable, scalable
solutions.”

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