DATE: September 13, 2018
SNIP: A new study suggests that ingesting even a single piece of plastic can be deadly for sea turtles.
Researchers found there was a one in five chance of death for a turtle who consumed just one item – rising to 50% for 14 pieces.
The team found that younger turtles are at a higher risk of dying from exposure to plastic than adults.
The authors say their research raises concerns over the long term survival of some turtle species.
The never ending surge of plastic into the world’s oceans is taking an increasing toll on iconic marine species.
The authors of this study estimate that around half of all the sea turtles on the planet have ingested plastic – this rises to 90% among juvenile green sea turtles off the coast of Brazil.
While sea turtles can live until they are about 80 and reproduce for decades, researchers are concerned for the longer term impact of so many juveniles consuming so much plastic.
“We know that disproportionately finding it more in younger animals who won’t make it to the reproductive state will have long term consequences for the survival of the species,” said Dr Hardesty.
“It’s very concerning.”