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