AGreen turtle with snorkellers off Green Island, part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Cairns in Far North Queensland. Picture: Brendan Radke.
AGreen turtle with snorkellers off Green Island, part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Cairns in Far North Queensland. Picture: Brendan Radke.

New fears for plastic ingestion by turtles

PLASTIC has been found in the guts of more than 100 sea turtles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.

More than 800 synthetic particles were found in 102 turtles, with up to 20 pieces of microplastics (particles less than 5mm in length) found in each of the turtles sampled from Queensland.

However, researchers only tested part of each animal's gut, so the total number of particles is estimated to be about 20 times higher.

James Cook University turtle expert Professor Mark Hamman, who was involved in the study, said the presence of plastic in turtles examined as part of the study was a concern.

"The issue is worthy of continued investigation as we suspect that the younger turtles are more vulnerable and we don't know what effects microplastic ingestion will have on them," Professor Hamman said.



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