Green sea turtles eat more plastic than ever

Endangered green turtles are ingesting more man-made debris, including potentially lethal plastic products, than ever before, a new Australian study has shown.

The majestic turtles are significantly more likely to swallow plastic than they were in the 1980s, the study, published in the journal Conservation Biology, showed.

The research reviewed scientific literature on the ingestion of man-made rubbish in the ocean by sea turtles published since 1985.

It showed that six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles have been found to ingest debris, and all six are listed as globally vulnerable or endangered.

The study found that the likelihood of a green turtle, which can grow to 1.5 metres (five feet) and live for 80 years, ingesting debris jumped from about 30 percent in 1985 to nearly 50 percent in 2012.

The research said it was clear that since the first data was recorded more than 100 years ago, the amount of refuse leatherback turtles had ingested had also increased.

However, between 1985 and 2012 their intake had been stable.

Plastic products eaten by turtles and other marine life can be lethal, killing the animals by either blocking their stomachs and starving them or through puncturing their intestinal system.

The research, analysing 37 studies published from 1985 to 2012 which reported on data collected from before 1900 through to 2011, found that turtles in nearly all regions ingested debris, most commonly plastic.

Source | Agence France – Presse

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