Save the Turtles

Death by Plastic

VSCO girls were right. We must save the turtles. And all life from what our horrid population has inflicted on their ecosystems. Sea turtles, birds, and varieties of fish, all have been affected by the mass drop of plastic and garbage into the oceans. Over 15 to 51 Trillion pieces of plastic sit in the world’s oceans, waiting to be contained by another fish looking for food, or an animal innocent and scared to be trapped in the plastic bags or plastic holders for soda.


Turtles and other marine life ingest or become entangled in plastic each year; thousands die. Oftentimes, turtles mistake plastic for food. They then become full from eating so much plastic that it causes internal injuries. According to an article by PEW- Plastic Pollution Affects Sea Life Throughout The Ocean, states, that “half of sea turtles worldwide have ingested plastic.” These plastics being ingested by turtles only harms them. Their internal organs can be ruptured by the plastic they eat. The plastic causes internal blockage leaving the turtle hurt and unable to eat. 


Not only are turtles being affected, but tons of fish ingest over “12,000 to 40,000 tons of plastic each year,” according to an article by Center for Biology Diversity- Ocean Plastics Pollution: A Global Tragedy for Our Oceans and Sea Life. Which means a drastic increase in “intestinal injury and death.”  On top of death and injury, the pollution counteracts affecting humans in the long run as well. Our own upbringing of being too “lazy” to throw trash away, or not recycling creates trouble in the fish market. In the same article, it states that “a quarter of fish at markets in California contained plastic in their guts, mostly in the form of plastic microfibers.”


It is unfortunate that there have been times where birds mistaken litter in international waters as prey. An article by Blastic- Plastic Ingestion by Birds, mentions that “some types of plastics resemble natural materials floating on the sea surface.” Many marine species, but specifically birds have faced consequences of eating waste that has been dumped into the oceans over the years. In the same article, when birds “ingest plastic, they are harmed due to serious ulcerations in their gizzards being blocked by the pylorus- a valve that opens and closes during digestion.” Once the pylorus is blocked, eating becomes difficult and it eventually leads to their death.


While VSCO girls switched from plastic to Hydro Flasks, the rest of the world continued with their plastic bottles and chip bags. Often when we think of “save the turtles” we think of the trend from 2019, but what we should be thinking of is the death marine life goes through each year, as more and more plastic is dropped in the oceans. People must not forget the trend of metal water bottles, and continue the strive to be better and stop polluting natural ecosystems.