This Baby Sea Turtle Died With 100 Pieces Of Plastic In Its Stomach

This Baby Sea Turtle Died With 100 Pieces Of Plastic In Its Stomach

We've all heard that plastic pollution is causing harm to the world's oceans and the marine life who call it home, but only in moments like these do we get to see the staggering harm on an individual scale. According to a Facebook post from the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, a 20-acre coastal preserve located in Florida, a single baby Loggerhead sea turtle was found with more than 100 pieces of plastic in its stomach. The sea turtle did not survive, eventually dying of starvation.

"Not such a happy #TurtleTuesday this week," wrote Gumbo Limbo nature Center in a Facebook post. "It's washback season at Gumbo Limbo and weak, tiny turtles are washing up along the coastline needing our help."

"Unfortunately, not every washback survives. 100% of our washbacks that didn't make it had plastic in their intestinal tracts. This turtle, which would fit in the palm of your hand, had eaten 104 pieces of plastic. This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free."

“It was really heartbreaking," said Emily Mirowski, a turtle rehabilitation assistant at the center, in an interview with CNN. "But it’s something we’ve seen for several years and we’re just glad people are finally seeing this image, and hopefully it’s raising awareness.”

The Facebook post has gone viral with more than 4,200 shares as of this writing. The image of the deceased turtle and all of the pieces of plastic it had consumed are shocking to those who have little awareness of the issue.

What can we do?

Unfortunately no amount of effort could save this baby turtle, but there are things you can do to make sure that this fate does not befall more baby sea turtles. It's all about reducing your reliance on plastic.

avoid plastic bottled water

Bottled water is the biggest plastic culprit. An estimated 50 billion plastic water bottles were purchased in the U.S. last year. With the recycling rate in the U.S. at about 23%, that means 38 billion plastic water bottles wound up in the dump. Since some plastic takes up to 1000 years to biodegrade and that’s definitely not ideal for the planet!

Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk uses much less packaging and can be stored at home in glass containers. Most specialty stores have offered foods in bulk for years and some supermarkets are finally joining in. Buying in bulk also saves money and trips to the grocery store. So, you save time, gas and money by buying in bulk! Win, win, win! This article has some good tips on buying in bulk.

bring a takeout container

It is becoming increasingly common for restaurants to carry paper takeout containers, but many still use styrofoam. Did you know that styrofoam is a type of plastic? Styrofoam, or polystyrene, is a plastic invented by the Dow Chemical Company in 1941 and is often used as a container for transporting food. Unfortunately, like all plastics, it won't biodegrade and can cause serious issues if introduced to the environment. Consider bringing your own container from home if you expect to have leftovers from a trip to a local restaurant!

Want to take a deeper dive? Check out our ultimate guide to plastic free living.

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