Did you know that sea turtles can hold their breath up to five hours under water? Or that some species can live to be over 80 years old? What about the fact that they have existed for over 100 million years? That means they shared the planet with dinosaurs! These are some pretty fascinating creatures. But, here’s one more not-so-fun fact: out of the seven species of sea turtles in the world, six of them are either threatened or endangered.
What’s happening to the sea turtles?
Sadly, sea turtle populations are declining due to human activity.
- Sea turtles are likely to get tangled in fishing gear
- They are affected by climate change
- They are experiencing habitat loss
- Turtles accidentally eat or get tangled up in plastic waste
More plastic, more problems.
Currently one of the biggest problems that sea turtles are facing is eating or getting caught up in plastic garbage. Something like a plastic bag, which can looks like a tasty jellyfish, can be eaten by a sea turtle and make them very sick. A six-pack ring can get caught around a sea turtle’s neck. After hatching, baby turtles may get lost in washed-up plastic on the beach before they can even make it into the water.
- Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean, which is like dumping one whole garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute for a year!
- More than 1,000 sea turtles die every year due to plastic pollution
- As pollution increases, more turtles are likely to be entangled
Single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws, water bottles, plastic cutlery, and take-out containers are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to plastic pollution.
What are single-use plastics?
Single use plastics, or SUPs, are plastics that we use just once and then throw away. Think about the times you used a plastic straw, cup, or water bottle to have a drink. Have you eaten a meal from a takeout container using plastic cutlery? Did they all go straight into the garbage? Well, you’re not alone. SUPs are everywhere!
- About half of all the plastic made is designed to be thrown away after one use
- One million plastic drink bottles are purchased every minute around the world, and up to five trillion plastic bags are used every year!
- Not enough SUPs are recycled—it turns out that 90% of plastic waste hasn’t been recycled or reused!
- Just because you don’t live near the ocean doesn’t mean the plastic you use won’t find its way into the sea or other bodies of water.
Some GREAT news…
Thankfully, Canada is on track to ban all of those harmful SUPs as early as 2021. This incredible effort by the Canadian government will get us one step closer to protecting the environment and our turtle friends of the sea! But until then, we need to do our part as Earth Rangers to reduce the use of SUPs in our daily lives.
Try this Earth Rangers Mission with your family!
We are calling all Earth Rangers to protect the environment by cutting out SUPs! Accept the More Plastics More Problems Mission on the Earth Rangers app and challenge yourself and your family to cut those pesky SUPs out of your life.