Plastic might seem pretty convenient in daily activities, but it is not so when it comes to its aftereffects of improper disposal. Each year, thousands of marine animals die after consuming or getting entangled in plastic which they mistake as food. The most recently emerged aspect of plastic pollution is plastic straws.
Can you estimate how many plastic straws are used every day? It’s not hundreds. It’s not thousands. In the US alone, 500 million plastic straws are used per day. And the disturbing fact is that most of these straws get dumped in the surrounding oceans, threatening marine life.
Watch The Video Below To See What A Single Plastic Straw Did To A Sea Turtle
Plastic straws are extremely lightweight and very small to be separated. This helps them slip through sorting screens and end up blending with other waste materials. Also, when they aren’t separated, they tend to contaminate recycling loads. Due to being hackneyed, you can often see them lying around in most human habitats. Most of all, their minute size keeps them off the attention of management workers.
Plastic Straws Kill Sea Turtles
Plastic pollution happens in oceans as we speak and it happens at an exponential pace. So, exactly how much plastic does it take to kill a sea turtle? You’d be surprised that this number isn’t so high.
A new study suggests ingesting just a single piece of plastic straw is sufficient to choke and kill a sea turtle. To add to the harrow, there is a 1 out of 5 chance for a sea turtle to die of ingesting straws.
These researchers have shown that nearly 50% of the global sea turtle population has already ingested plastic. This number has risen to 90% for the young turtles near the Brazilian coast. They analyze the post mortem reports and stranding records of animals related to sea turtles near Queensland to get a better understanding of the exposure and impact.
They have reached the acutely distressing conclusion that any animals that have ingested over 200 plastic pieces would die.
Research On Sea Turtle Mortality
The research has also shown that the mortality rate is even higher for young turtles as they are more inclined to consume plastics. More than half of post-hatchling turtles and approximately 23% of young turtles have consumed more plastic than adult sea turtles.
The study says the chance of mortality of a sea turtle increases by 50% if it consumes 14 plastic pieces. Ingesting just 1 piece of human-made plastic increases the chance of mortality by 22%.
Sea turtles mistake the shiny pieces of plastic for jellyfish or other food that increases their susceptibility to consume more plastics. Ingestion does them no good. Plastic does not break down easily, so it stays in the stomach and impacts the functionality of other organs. Moreover, harder pieces of plastics cause internal injuries that result in nothing other than death.
Another horrifying facet of plastic pollution in oceans is microplastics. Plastics fall to small pieces with time turning into microplastics.
The harrows of plastic pollution are amazingly distressing. Humans are the leading cause for this catastrophe which might even lead to the extinction of sea turtles. We must become more aware of our consumption patterns. If we don’t change them to reduce plastic pollution, marine life won’t thrive.