A leatherback sea turtle has washed up on a beach in Cornwall with plastic in her stomach. Plastic did not kill this sea turtle, but a boat propeller might have, according to a team from the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus, who found deep wounds on her back.
Although plastic did not kill this sea turtle, the plastic in her stomach once again confirms the stark reality of the plastic pollution crisis our ocean is facing. Emily Duncan, a PhD student who assisted in the investigation, said: “It is unfortunate that almost all turtles examined now around the world have plastic in their gut.”
The leatherback is the biggest species of sea turtle on Earth, and this 6ft (1.8m) female was feeding on jellyfish around the UK over the warm summer months. The leatherback was found at Marazion near Penzance after summer storms, and researchers are urging boat users to take extra caution as many leatherbacks are still likely to be feeding in UK waters.
If we continue to use and discard of plastic so carelessly, the future for our wildlife will be a sad one. It must stop now, and we at MCS and other environmental NGOs are working on the government and policy level, but it is on the ground where you can make the greatest difference!
This September, 14th – 17th, we are holding the 25th annual Great British Beach Clean and we need you to be part of the solution! This is where we fight plastic on the front lines. Getting plastic off the beaches is a major step to protecting the wildlife that feeds close to our shores.
Last year 7000 amazing people joined us on 339 beaches around the UK and collected over 255,000 pieces of litter.
Will you be part of the solution? Sign up today.