Sea turtles have been eating plastic bags for years until recently scientists found out why. Plastic to them smells like a delicious meal because of the algae and other bacterias that accumulate on them. Scientists recorded data of various sea turtles, based on their smell sense, in the journal named ‘Current Biology’.
Scientists found that turtles react the same way to plastic bags as they do towards food. They also mentioned that sea turtles, who keep their noses out of the water 3 times longer, can smell the plastic bags compared to other control smells.
— Oceana (@oceana) March 16, 2020
Plastic bags destroy marine life. They have caused harm to a lot of marine organisms for many years. More than 50 percent of the entire planet’s sea turtle population has eaten plastic waste because they thought it was food.
Why do turtles eat Plastic bags?
Previously it was believed that turtles eat plastic because they look like juicy jellyfish. But, the turtle’s eating habits depend on their olfactory senses and not on their perception.
Nick Mallos, senior director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, states the findings of the study to be concerning. The study shows the evolution of turtles to pursue certain specific smells that signal their neurotransmitters.
The Ocean is not a large grocery of food. So these organisms have evolved themselves to survive in all kinds of harsh conditions. Sadly, all of the stated species of turtles are endangered, consuming plastic bags will only push them towards extinction.
The plastic consumed by the turtles are not digested, but they are tricked into believing that their hunger is satiated. They starve to death.
What should we do?
Every year nearly 100,000 marine organisms die due to polythene ingestion. The study should help us be aware of not polluting our water bodies. These marine creatures might not be on the surface of the planet if we do not take proper steps.
Did you know that each year 100,000 marine animals and over 1 million sea birds die from ingesting plastic? Let's change that… TOGETHER!
— Clearwater Aquarium (@CMAquarium) October 5, 2018
An estimated one million birds, 100,000 turtles, and countless other sea animals die each year from ingesting plastic.
Ditch the plastic with a reusable & stylish Market Bag.
Available for $10 (including tax) in the Market Office. pic.twitter.com/90hUCurwGx
— Hamilton Farmers’ Market (@HamOntMarket) June 1, 2019
As humans, it is our duty to save our planet and stop using Plastic bags and disposing of them in the ocean. People should be encouraged to use recyclable products.