A few Saturdays ago, I spent the day out at a big community event all about environmental health. There were tons of vendors from every organization imaginable there all promoting simple changes that we can do to help keep our local habitats clean. At our booth, we were all about making sure plastic doesn’t get into the waterways, specifically in regards to sea turtle conservation.
Take this plastic milk container for example. Each of those diamond shaped holes is actually a sea turtle bite ☹
Not only does plastic make the environment look dirty and gross, but many animals, like sea turtles, mistakenly eat plastic thinking it’s food. Many sea turtles, especially Hawksbills, enjoy eating jelly fish, seagrass, and sponges. For hawksbills, jellyfish like the moon jelly at the top of this post is a main staple of their diet. As sea turtles obviously don’t know what plastic is, they commonly mistake things like clear plastic bags and bottles for jelly fish and eat them instead. When they do, the plastic sits in their stomachs indefinitely, undigested, just taking up room. As a result, they do not have enough space for actual food. This can lead to malnutrition or even starvation if they cannot eat enough food. In other cases, it can lead to disease, or puncturing of internal organs. Not to mention the external harms of strangulation and the such. All around bad news for sea life!
It doesn’t take much to help this situation! Simple things like recycling, making sure trash is properly disposed of in lidded trash cans, and using reusable bags at the grocery store can go a long way! Some grocery stores like mine down here in Texas even have mesh reusable produce bags now, eliminating all need for plastic bags.
Of course nothing is ever perfect, much of what we buy is still encased in plastic, but we can definitely do what we can to reduce it! Small steps taken day by day can still protect nature and save wild life like sea turtles 😊