Marine Plastic Debris

Coastal and marine wildlife need your help!

 

The Australian Federal Government has acknowledged that marine debris poses a serious threat to our wildlife.  The Marine Debris Threat Abatement Plan provides a comprehensive view of measures that can be taken by each state to reduce this threat.

Around 40% of the sea turtles we treat in our sea turtle hospital each year are suffering the effects of plastic ingestion in varying degrees.  The most shocking case of plastic ingestion by a sea turtle we’ve seen washed up in June 2011. 317 pieces of plastic were retrieved from digestive tract of the carcass.

300 pieces of plastic kills turtle – ABC North Coast NSW – Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

 

Here’s what Dr Kathy Townsend discovered in Moreton Bay, Queensland.

“Turtles have been found to have eaten most plastic items, but the most common items eaten are soft plastics, such as plastic bags and lolly wrappers, and pieces of hard broken-down plastic,” Dr Townsend said.

“The ratio of soft plastics – plastic bags, bait bags and cling film – to hard plastics found in turtle gut contents compared to the ratio found in the environment was significantly higher.”

Song by Brooke White – “Come to My Rescue”, thank you so much Brooke.

Helium Balloons

“What Goes Up, Must Come Down”  Read an article by the late Lance Ferris about the impacts of helium balloons on marine wildlife.

Lance and the team at Australian Seabird Rescue were successful at lobbying our state government to ban the mass release of (>20) helium balloons.

You can find a copy of the Parliamentary discussion which ran for two sessions, here and here, and you can read the final “Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Balloons) Bill 2000″ in pdf format here.

These balloons were removed from inside a Hawksbill sea turtle in August 2011.