We’ve all heard that plastic pollution is causing harm to the world’s oceans and the marine life who call it home, but only in moments like these do we get to see the staggering harm on an individual scale. According to a Facebook post from the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, a 20-acre coastal preserve located in Florida, a single baby Loggerhead sea turtle was found with more than 100 pieces of plastic in its stomach. The sea turtle did not survive, eventually dying of starvation.
“Not such a happy #TurtleTuesday this week,” wrote Gumbo Limbo nature Center in a Facebook post. “It’s washback season at Gumbo Limbo and weak, tiny turtles are washing up along the coastline needing our help.”
“Unfortunately, not every washback survives. 100% of our washbacks that didn’t make it had plastic in their intestinal tracts. This turtle, which would fit in the palm of your hand, had eaten 104 pieces of plastic. This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free.”
“It was really heartbreaking,” said Emily Mirowski, a turtle rehabilitation assistant at the center, in an interview with CNN. “But it’s something we’ve seen for several years and we’re just glad people are finally seeing this image, and hopefully it’s raising awareness.”
The Facebook post has gone viral with more than 4,200 shares as of this writing. The image of the deceased turtle and all of the pieces of plastic it had consumed are shocking to those who have little awareness of the issue.