Many of us have seen one photo or another that compares plastic bags and jellyfish, a main food in the diet of a sea turtle. It is easy to spot similarities. With new data, we now know that this is not the only reason that turtles are attracted to ocean plastics.
Photo credit: From Reddit user Crusader583
In the 9th of March issue of Current Biology, findings were released from a study in to the actions of loggerhead sea turtles where exposed to the smell of food and 'biofouled' plastics. A 'biofouled' plastic is a plastic that has become home and host to marine algae, microbes, plants, and microscopic animals. In the study, the turtle's response to the scent of food, clean plastic, 'biofouled' plastic, and deionised water (no scent) were measured. Unsurprisingly, the turtles had an increased response to the biofouled plastic over the clean plastic. Food and biolfouled plastic odours had three times the reaction as the clean plastic and deionised water.
Photo credit: Cell Biology
Ok, but what can I do about it? I am just one person.
Everyone can examine their own plastic use. There are so many simple choices that we make everyday that could help reduce the amount of plastic put in to the world.
1) Bring your refillable water bottle everywhere you go. I carry my Dive Rutland aluminium bottle everywhere
2) Switch to glass bottled milk. Ok, this one is a tad trickier and more costly. Many farm shops now have milk refill stations or you can get delivery from Milk and More (in the UK).
3) Bring your travel mug with you for coffee refills.
4) Buy unpackaged produce. Your fruit and veg already has its own packaging!
5) Switch to shampoo bars or at least refillable brands. Ethique is fantastic at keeping up with my chlorine laden hair.
6) Bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tabs, a bit weird at first, but my mouth feels just as clean.
You can join us for a Dive Against Debris dive, or go to your local water site and do a beach clean and better still make EVERY dive a dive against debris.
On a walk pickup a few bits of litter - yes it would be better if EVERYONE took their letter home!
Remember, all waterways lead to the ocean.
Picking up just one piece of plastic, in the water or before it gets to the water could help. If just one person picked up one piece everyday that is 7.53 billion pieces of plastic every single day!
Written by Bridget Weid, our ecoconscious instructor who tries to make each dive site a little cleaner and lives a life that tries not to add plastic to the environment.
If you want to know more, stop in for a chat about plastics. Everyone can take part in the Project Aware programs and make a difference!
Photo Credit: Rachel Hurford
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Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE