A helpless baby turtle is recovering after having its tiny stomach pumped of plastic.
Rescuers counted 158 individual shreds inside the turtle’s belly, a total of 60 grams of plastic, according to Vice World News.
The Bangkok Post has also said the turtle is currently convalescing at the Sireetarn Marine Endangered Animals Rescue Center, after it was found on Phuket’s west coast on July 23.
The country’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources shared news of the rescue on Facebook earlier this week.
X-rays revealed a blockage of debris in the animal’s intestines — mostly bits of plastic bags and netting. The malnourished turtle is now being closely monitored by caregivers, who are using a feeding tube until the turtle has regained strength enough to eat on its own.
Vice World News reports that Thailand is one of the biggest plastic consumers globally, and has a waste management system that struggles to keep up. The country reportedly dumps 30,000 to 40,000 tons of plastic in its nearby oceans annually, according to Phuket Marine Biological Center researcher Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong.
Kongkiat told Vice News readers on Thursday that the sea creature’s devastating reality is a direct result of human activity.
“In order to actively reduce the consequences of trash and marine waste, we need to reduce plastic use at its source,” said Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong.
Thailand has begun making efforts to reduce plastic waste, including its decision to ban single-use plastic bags last year. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has since put a pause on more aggressive plans to address the issue as 2020 saw a 15% increase in plastic waste in the Southeast Asian nation, according to the Thailand Environment Institute Foundation.
Added Kongiat, “Users, meaning us citizens, need to be aware of how much plastic we use. We should only use what is necessary.”
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