Ocean trash threatens lives of sea turtles

JUPITER, Fla. (WPTV) — Marine life experts in Jupiter, Florida say ocean trash is threatening the lives of sea turtles.

“Between 70 and 90 percent of everything we collect out here is plastic,” said Katie O’Hara, conservation coordinator at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

O’Hara’s team routinely sees trash washing up from West Africa. Once collected, the items are counted and sorted. The numbers are staggering for last year alone from their small 9.5 mile stretch of beach they patrol. Over 35,000 foam pieces, 25,000 cigarette butts, 9,000 bottle caps and 4,000 straws.

“It’s actually kind of scary that we could end up losing an entire age class of turtles just from the plastic they are accumulating in the wild,” said Dr. Charles Manire, Director of Rehabilitation at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

Experts say we can help the problem by eliminating single-use plastic items, such as floss, from our homes.

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