By Laura Kemp •
Published: 14 Jan 2022 • 18:20
Earlier this week, two green turtles and four loggerhead turtles were released back into the wild after being rescued from a fishing net in San Clemente del Tuyu in Argentina.
Staff at a local marine foundation said they found ten different types of plastic in the poor marine creatures bodies.
Karina Alvarez, a biologist at the Grupo Marino Foundation, said: “The danger of plastic is that it is silent.”
The turtles’ rehabilitation lasted more than a month, where they underwent blood tests and x-rays to ensure that they did not have any plastic objects in their digestive tracts.
During a video message, Alvarez said: “During the check-up and evaluation, we found a large amount of this material inside, so it is important that they can eliminate them before the condition worsens and ends up causing the death of the specimens.”
Loggerhead turtles can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea.
Green turtles are one of the biggest sea turtles and can grow to more than 90 kg in weight.
The massive increase in plastic pollution in ocean’s poses a huge threat to marine creatures and, according to research from UK and Australian marine biologists, the number of turtles containing plastic was far higher on the Pacific coast with 86 per cent of loggerheads, 83 per cent of greens, 80 per cent of flatbacks and 29 per cent of olive ridleys.
On the Indian Ocean coast, 28 per cent of flatbacks, 21 per cent of loggerheads and 9 per cent of green turtles contained plastic.
Scientists discovered that the plastic found in the Pacific turtles was mainly hard fragments. These come from a wide variety of products used by humans.
The plastics in the Indian Ocean were mainly fibres – possible from fishing nets and ropes.
Dr Emily Duncan, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, said: “These polymers are so widely used in plastic products that it’s impossible to pin down the likely sources of the fragments we found.”
“Hatchlings generally contained fragments up to about 5mm to 10mm in length, and particle sizes went up along with the size of the turtles.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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