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Plastic Shreds, Rubber Bands and Balloon Pieces Found in Thai Turtle

Animals
Dean Croshere / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Plastic waste is being blamed for the death of a green turtle found on the eastern province of Chanthaburi in Thailand.

The turtle washed up on the beach on June 4, Weerapong Laovechprasit, a veterinarian at the Eastern Marine and Coastal Resource Research and Development Centre told AFP.


X-rays on the reptile revealed a blockage in its stomach. A team of vets tried to save the turtle and feed it intravenously, but it died two days later, AFP reported.

A necropsy on the turtle uncovered plastic shreds from fishing gear, rubber bands and other marine debris clogged in its stomach.

"It was feeling weak and couldn't swim," Weerapong told AFP. "The main cause of death is the sea trash."

The discovery comes not long after a pilot whale died in southern Thailand after swallowing 17 pounds of plastic waste, including 80 plastic bags.

The turtle died on June 6, not long before World Oceans Day, as the Bangkok-based sustainable lifestyle brand ReReef noted on Instagram.

Green turtles are classified as endangered, according to the WWF, due to "overharvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, being caught in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites."

Around the world, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste gets dumped in our oceans every year. A 2015 study found that 60 percent of the world's plastic waste comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist and lecturer at Kasetsart University, told AFP that about 300 marine animals including pilot whales, sea turtles and dolphins die each year in Thailand after ingesting plastic.

"It's a huge problem," he said. "We use a lot of plastic."

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