Baby turtle pooped ‘pure plastic’ for six days after being rescued from Sydney beach | plastic bags

A baby green sea turtle rescued from a Sydney beach had eaten so much plastic it took six days for the contents to be excreted, according to the Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

The 127-gram newborn was found lying on her back in a rock pool near Tamarama Beach in Sydney. It was missing one of its four fins, had a chip in another, and had a hole in its shell.

Caregivers said that apart from these injuries, the turtle appeared to be in good physical condition and had no problems swimming.

The newborn green sea turtle was missing a fin when it was found on Tamarama Beach in Sydney. Photo: Taronga Zoo

“But then he started defecating, and he was defecating plastic for six days. No feces came out, just pure plastic,” said Taronga veterinary nurse Sarah Male.

“It was all different sizes, colors and compositions. Some were hard, some were sharp, and with some you could tell the plastic had written on them. That’s all some of these poor little things eat. There is so much plastic around that they just consume it as their first initial food,” she said.

The male described the turtle, which has regained its health and now weighs almost 400g, as a “bagel with fins”.

Despite the progress, it could be a whole year before it is released into wild, coastal waters.

Rescued green sea turtle hatchling poops pure plastic for six days in a row – video

The hospital says the size of the small newborns makes them particularly vulnerable to prey, and they want the animal to have the best chance of survival. In addition to size, ocean temperatures are also a factor – warmer waters are better for turtles.

Taronga Wildlife Hospital cares for up to 80 sea turtles a year, many of whom have been injured after becoming entangled in fishing lines or digesting hooks and plastics.

“If everyone just takes a bit of their time to pick up some litter – it doesn’t have to be on the beach – then hopefully we can make a difference,” Male said.

States like New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have all imposed stricter bans on single-use plastic, but the scale of the problem is sometimes overwhelming.

More than 8 million tons flow into the oceans around the world each year. The majority is transported to sea by rivers, dumped along the coasts or abandoned by fishing vessels.

A survey of a beach on Henderson Island, one of the most remote places in the world, revealed nearly 38 million pieces of plastic strewn across the sand.

However, CSIRO researchers reported in June that local actions are making a difference, with the amount of plastic pollution on Australia’s coast dropping by up to 30% on average thanks to local governments working to reduce litter.

theguardian Gt

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