What the Shell?!

Help decrease the high levels of pollution in our oceans!

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Salty blue water that was once clean is now filled with garbage, garbage, and more garbage. Did you know that according to SEE Turtles, out of the seven sea turtle species, six are endangered or threatened due to pollution and other man-made dangers? Many daily activities people partake in place wildlife at risk, such as fishing, poaching, and littering.

The lack of recycling taking place across the globe is a huge threat to all seven species of turtles: the leatherback, green turtle, hawksbill, loggerhead, olive ridley, kemp’s ridley, and the flatback. They are creatures that roam our oceans and they need to be respected and protected! Thousands of aquatic flora and fauna die every year as a result of pollution and garbage building up in the oceans.

Sea turtles’ basic needs for survival are at risk. Their homes are being damaged and their food contaminated. They nest on beaches covered in garbage that is tossed there or washes up on shore. Chemical spills are polluting the water that they swim in, damaging not only their home, but also the exterior and interior of their bodies. Oil debris causes pieces of tar to degrade and harden. These toxins are mistaken for food and are eaten by the turtles, causing illness.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

YES, these poor animals are getting sick as a result of our negligence! Fibropapillomas is a disease believed to be caused by pollution. It creates cauliflower-like tumours on organs and around the eyes and mouth. Sounds gross, right? Well it's more than disgusting! The disease is often fatal, causing the turtles speed to slow down and increasing their chances of being at risk to predators. SEE Turtles states that over 50% of green turtles in Florida’s Indian River suffer from this awful disease.  

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

If you don't think there are consequences to throwing your plastic bottles in the garbage instead of recycling the product, you could not be more wrong. Although the majority of plastic waste is dumped in landfills or burned, many of the trash that is transported from one location to another increases the chances of some garbage escaping into natural environments. For example, the trash sitting on a boat transporting waste is caught in high winds, leaving bits of garbage to be blown through the air and fall into the ocean.

Fourteen billion pounds of garbage are dumped into the ocean every year, filling the water with chemicals and other physical waste. There are many islands made up of garbage that float around in the ocean, weighing tons and stretching as far as the eye can see! Crazily enough, less than five per cent of plastic created is actually recycled when people are done with it… that’s pathetic! We need change. These animals are not the only sea creatures that have to suffer through our mistakes within their home. We must take responsibility.

Here are some small acts you can do to help save not only the several kinds of sea turtles from pollution, but all other aquatic life that roam the oceans:

  1. Remember to recycle plastics and e-waste to avoid plastic and chemical pollution.

  2. Don't pour paint and other chemicals down the drain!

  3. Simple ways to use less plastic can be anything from steering clear of plastic straws, cups, and bags. When you can, bring reusable bags when shopping and cups when buying coffee.

  4. Help raise awareness in your community! Organize trash pick-ups in the area to reduce the risk of litter ending up in natural water-based environments.

  5. Donate to wildlife foundations that focus on increasing the purity of bodies of water, such as the National Wildlife Federation, Wateraid, or Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire.

  6. Check out SEE Turtles online. This non-profit organization protects sea turtles and provides educational programs and volunteer tours. They also have a Billion Baby Turtles program that saves $5.00 for every dollar donated, so go donate and help the baby turtles!

I know that you are one person, but you are one of many! Together we can bring change.


Holly Williams

Holly Williams is a small town girl jumping into the big city life. She recently graduated the Honours Program at Trent University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies and English Literature. Reading and writing have always been activities she has been passionate about, along with photography and exploring. She likes to think if a book doesn't light a spark in your soul then it wasn't a 10/10. Her happy place is sitting on the porch on a crisp fall day, spending time with people she loves, with a hot cup of tea in her hands.