Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution!

Did you know that a single plastic bag takes up to 1000 years to degrade?

That’s right, 1000 years!

Plastic is the largest polluter of our oceans – mostly originating from urban sources and landfills – and hundreds of thousands of marine species, including our beloved sea turtles, die each year from ingestion and entanglement in this marine debris.

A study conducted by the University of Queensland found that in recent years more than 50 percent of all sea turtles have been ingesting plastic. Sea turtles specifically tend to mistake plastics and other garbage for food, which can block or puncture their digestive system causing eventual death due to starvation.

Out of seven species of sea turtles, the study shows that six have been found to ingest debris and all six are currently considered globally endangered. While the animal may not die immediately, the reproductive cycle will be impacted, which may cause long-term consequences.

More than 100 million barrels of oil are used yearly world-wide to create as many as 100 trillion plastic bags and less than 5% of this is recycled. Plastic bags especially are petroleum-based and will not biodegrade. Debris ingestion has become an increasing global phenomenon, thus it is imperative that we all help out.

So how can you help our turtle friends?

  • Stop using plastic straws, especially in bars and restaurants
  • Use reusable shopping bangs
  • Use reusable bottles or mugs for beverages
  • Don’t chew gum! It’s made of synthetic rubber and will not degrade easily
  • Buy home products in boxes or from bulk bins instead of plastic bottles or bags
  • Reuse containers for storing leftovers and bring your own containers for doggy bags at restaurants
  • Make freshly squeezed juice instead of buying juice in plastic bottles
  • Use razors with replaceable blades instead of disposable razors.


For more tips and information on how you can help look after these majestic sea creatures, you can follow the JCU Turtle Love and Conservation Society on Facebook or check out the Earth Day website.

Written by Giorgia Pellegrini

Edited by Rebecca Diggins

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