Endangered Green Sea Turtles Eating More Plastic Than Ever, Study Says

Endangered green sea turtles are eating more plastic than ever a new study suggests.

According to The Guardian, the finding is based on data collected across the globe since the late 1980s and analyzed by researchers at the University of Queensland.

Study leader and PhD candidate Qamar Schuyler says green and leatherback turtles are eating more plastic than ever before and more than any other form of debris.

“Our research revealed that young ocean-going turtles were more likely to eat plastic than their older, coastal-dwelling relatives,” Schuyler said on Friday.

The study found that stranded turtles in areas with high concentrations of marine debris did not experience a correspondingly high probability of debris ingestion according to Deccan Herald.

“Amazingly, turtles found adjacent to the heavily populated New York city area showed little or no evidence of debris ingestion, while all of the turtles found near an undeveloped area of southern Brazil had eaten debris,” Schuyler said.

Plastic products eaten by turtles and other marine life can be lethal, considering it can block their stomachs and starve them, or could puncture their intestinal system.

The chemicals and toxins in the plastic can also cause them harm as they are released into the animal throughout the digestive process.

“The animal may not die of that right away but it may impact things like their reproductive cycle and that has longer-term consequences,” Schuyler said according to News 24.

Schuyler continued on to say that the turtles aren’t “washing up” in the more polluted areas and says:

“So it means that they are ingesting that debris usually somewhere farther away from where they end up,” she said, adding that this suggested that a global response was needed to counter the problem.

“What we really need to look at is a large scale movement to stop debris entering the oceans.”

What do you think about the findings that green turtles are eating more plastic out in the wild? Do you think it says something about the pollution problem?

[Image by Bryan Wittal via Wikimedia Commons]