Human rubbish killing more than 1,000 turtles a year

Human rubbish killing more than 1,000 turtles a year

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More than 1,000 marine turtles die every year after becoming entangled in rubbish in the oceans and on beaches, according to a global survey.

The University of Exeter study, published in the journal Endangered Species Research, found turtles are getting tangled up in lost fishing nets, plastic twine and nylon fishing line.

Six-pack rings from canned drinks, plastic packaging straps, plastic balloon string, kite string, plastic packaging, discarded anchor line and seismic cable are also causing problems.

:: Fishing for plastic to build litter-picking boats

Most Green Turtle juveniles were found to have plastic in their gut

Video: Polluted Med killing off Green Turtles

“The throwaway plastic we use for just minutes can turn into a floating trap for marine creatures like whales and turtles that lurks in our oceans for centuries,” said Will McCallum, Greenpeace UK’s head of oceans.

“If UK ministers are truly feeling inspired after watching Blue Planet 2, then a good place to start would be stopping plastics getting into the ocean by pushing ahead with plans for a deposit return scheme.”

:: Plastic in sea could be worse than first feared

This baby turtle is seeing daylight for the very first time

Video: Meet the baby turtles threatened by plastic

Most entanglements recorded were in lost or discarded fishing gear known as “ghost fishing” rope, nets and lines.

More from Sky Ocean Rescue

Olive ridley turtles are the most likely species to get tangled up, though all species of turtle were found entangled.

:: Sky has been running a campaign to make people more aware of the effect plastic has on the world’s oceans and to share ways of tackling the problem. To get involved in Sky Ocean Rescue, visit the campaign website here. You can also watch our documentary, A Plastic Voyage.

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