Australians love the great outdoors and we save a special place in our hearts for our oceans. From surf beaches to spectacular coral reefs, Australian oceans also provide life support for the adventurous and engineering marine turtle which has been living in our waters for as long as 100 million years.
This January we are focussing on marine turtles by launching a new campaign to keep our oceans plastic free.
Despite it seeming like an endless ocean, marine debris is tarnishing our pristine beaches and waterways and we now estimate that third of all marine turtles have eaten plastic. Here at Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital, we have seen over 350 marine turtles brought in since 1984, many with plastic related illness.
This is because Australians also love plastic bags. We use more than 10 million single-use shopping bags every day – that’s 117 every second. Across a year, 100 million plastic bags end up in our waste stream. Those which end up in our oceans can be mistaken by some turtles as jellyfish. Turtles ingest, choke and can even be suffocated from single-use plastic bags. Marine turtles are eating twice as much plastic as they were 25 years ago. Taronga will be working with the NSW Government to reduce the impact of marine debris on marine turtles, and you can help too.
Become an ocean defender – simply choose re-usable shopping bags and keep our oceans plastic free!