The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina

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Citadel News Service
28 Aug 2017

Just how dangerous is plastic for marine life?

As seen in the Island Packet

By Delayna Earley

The South Carolina Aquarium, in Charleston, S.C., recently treated at released a juvenile Green Sea Turtle named Gill. When he was admitted he was dehydrated and emaciated, eventually it was discovered that he had ingested a piece of latex balloon that was nearly 4.5 inches long.

Just how dangerous is plastic for marine life?

The South Carolina Aquarium recently rehabilitated a sea turtle who had ingested latex. This is his story.

Gill isn’t the only one though. He is one of two sea turtles who have recently been treated at the hospital for ingesting plastic. In total, the aquarium has treated 18 patients in 17 years for ingesting plastic trash.

In a 2016 interview with The Post and Courier, John Weinstein, a physiology professor at The Citadel, said that the plastic pollution in our oceans is one of the most critical environmental concerns facing wildlife today.

“The threat that plastic debris poses to sea turtles and seabirds have been well-documented, and there is a growing body of scientific literature suggesting that the threat from microplastics may be just as great to fish and invertebrates,” Weinstein said.

He said that without changes regarding reusable packaging and recycling the problem will just continue to grow and get worse over time.


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