The other day, I was surfing near Waikiki at Tongs. As I paddled through the glassy water at around 8am, it seemed like a perfect day. The waves were decent, the sun was up, and there were no clouds in sight. Suddenly I saw something pass by. It was a white plastic bag floating on the surface of the water. All of a sudden a turtle came out of nowhere and snatched it in it’s mouth. When I got home, I went on instagram and saw a video of some people taking out a plastic straw from a turtles nose. The turtle seemed in so much pain and there was blood everywhere. This inspired me to do some research about the correlation between turtles and plastic.
Through some research, I discovered that more than half of the worlds turtles have plastic in their digestive system. Due to this, six out of the seven turtle species are considered threatened. Turtles are mainly herbivores that eat seaweed and kelp and of course…plastic. It is believed that 13 pieces of plastic is enough to begin to cause health issues to a turtle. If you think about it, 13 pieces is barely anything considering turtles live up to 80 years. In this amount of time, they could eat thousands of pieces of plastic by accident. Plastic is especially dangerous to baby turtles because baby turtles float with the current of the ocean just as baby turtles do throughout the first few years of their life. I’m sure many of you don’t want little Squirt from Nemo to die because some straws from McDonald’s got stuck in his throat. Although we see plastic as a tool that is heavily used, it should also be seen as a threat. Next time you get a straw from McDonald’s, dont throw it away. Put it in the plastic recycle bin and if possible refuse it from the cashier and drink it straight from the rim instead.