What Is Ocean Plastic Pollution?
The ocean and the animals that live in it have been a passion of mine since I was little. I have always been interested and drawn to it. The power, the immensity, the beauty. The way animals are able to survive in such a vast place and how they adapt.
Now that I'm older, my passion has gotten more intense. Especially, because now I know the ocean and the animals that live in it are in danger. All due to ocean plastic pollution.
I have written several posts about the ocean, plastics, and going chemical-free and natural. I do know several things about this topic. However, I am not an expert and I'm still learning.
One thing that was brought to my attention recently is the ocean pollution called ghost netting. I have never heard of this before and I was deeply saddened by hearing yet another danger humans place in the ocean. Saddened because as humans we know better and we CAN BE BETTER.
What Is Ghost Netting?
Ghost netting is fishing nets that are discarded, abandoned, or lost at sea. These nets are extremely dangerous to most marine life, however, they are extremely dangerous to sea turtles.
Why are these floating nets in such a vast place so dangerous? Well, they are fishing nets. When they are drifting out in the open ocean, they began to catch things such as fish and other small marine life.
Animals who eat what is caught in the net go after it, thinking they are going to get a bite to eat, and instead they are caught in the net. These animals struggle trying to free themselves and end up getting tangled up in the net with no escape.
The tangled-up animal, usually turtles (although some have taken down WHALES), end up drowning or some are lucky enough to be rescued. However, the dead animal will weigh down the net and it will sink to the ocean floor.
Once it gets to the ocean floor, ocean floor animals will start feeding on the dead animal such as crabs and other scavengers.
Once the body has been fed on and the remaining carcass has decomposed or been removed by these scavengers, the net will once again rise to the surface because it is free of weight.
So, once again we are back to a free net floating around in the ocean ready to do harm again and go through the same cycle mentioned above.
These nets don't break down. It is a form of plastic and as my other posts mentioned... plastic NEVER fully breaks down. This is a continuous cycle. And it is hurting our marine life and turtles.
Sea turtles already have a very low survival rate once they are born. They have a 1 in 1,000 survival rate. So out of 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings, only 1 will make it to adulthood. This is already a pretty slim chance.
Olive Ridley Project
The Olive Ridley Project is a rescue and rehabilitation center that I just learned about. They are on a mission to protect sea turtles by bringing awareness to ocean plastic pollution and ghost netting.
They have removed and rescued many sea turtles, most being the Olive Ridley sea turtle, from ghost netting.
Here's what I've learned from this organization:
Turtles that are caught in ghost netting suffer terrible injuries
Injuries include lacerations around the neck and flippers, partially or completely amputated flippers, buoyancy issues which means the turtle cannot dive to eat or rest, starvation, and more
The vet on site for this project can stitch a wound, give surgery if needed, or amputate
Amputations are common when a sea turtle is caught in a net
A turtle who lost one flipper can re-learn to swim well and can go back in the wild
Turtles who lost both flippers have a slim chance of surviving in the ocean so they do not get released. Instead, they get re-homed.
Turtles who have buoyancy issues recover over time and can be released. However, they have to recuperate in a large, deep pool.
Since this project has been in operation, they have rescued and treated 143 turtles with 76 turtles being successfully released into the ocean.
What Can You Do To Help?
Well, first you can stop using single-use plastic and start using chemical-free products.
Second, if you live near the ocean you can volunteer to help remove ghost netting and ocean plastic pollution.
Third, you can donate to the Olive Ridley Project so they can continue their mission,
Fourth, you can adopt a turtle from the Olive Ridley Project site. Their center can house up to 8 turtles at a time and they give each turtle a name. One thing I love about this project is they are very interactive. When you adopt a turtle, you help pay for veterinary care, medications, food, transport, rescue operations and help them continue their work to rescue and rehabilitate these turtles. Also, with your adoption, you learn about the specific turtle. How it got to the rescue center, updates on their recovery, AND a live release that is broadcast on Facebook when your sea turtle gets released. Pretty cool.
How I Learned About This Project
Over the holidays, I subscribed to a magazine called Legends Magazine. It is a magazine made out of paper to be recycled. But it is $20 every 3 months where they send you a magazine which is all about nature and wildlife. $10 goes to the production of the magazine but then they give you a scratch-off card where you scratch to get a donation code. Then, you scan this QR code and it will take you to a donation site where you can choose where your other $10 goes, based on who they have partnered with for that magazine.
The first one I had a choice of whether I wanted to donate to the project for ocean clean-up or veterinary care.
This was my first magazine through this new project that Legends Bracelet is doing and I can't wait to see what my next one holds.
The magazine is very informative, an easy read, the most interactive magazine I've ever read, and the passion comes through. The visuals are also beautiful. I've already learned a lot just based on the first one.
I like the fact that I'm learning but I'm also giving back.
Go check it out and see for yourself what this company is up to! And No, I am not an affiliate for the company... just bringing light to a good cause.
Hopefully, you go check this new magazine out, learn something new because that's INCREDIBLE for your brain, and enjoy!