#PlasticFreeJuly2021 has come and gone, and we have loved sharing our tips with you on Instagram.
It is such an important campaign and our team at MBC are always looking for new ways to reduce our use of single use plastics!
If you are unsure how to help in the fight against plastic pollution, the beach is a great place to start!
A lot of rubbish washes up on our beautiful beaches, especially after a wild storm.
A simple 10 minute clean each day can do absolute wonders for our marine life, and it is great for your physical and mental health.
Throughout winter, our beaches also bring a few more surprises than usual...
Juvenile turtles tend to wash up on Perth and Southwest beaches!
These little guys hatch up north between November-March, and often get swept up in the Leeuwin Current that travels down the west coast of Australia.
By the time they reach the Perth and Southwest regions, it is usually around wintertime and strong storms wash the turtles out of the warm Leeuwin Current, and onto our beaches.
They are often cold-stunned, injured, dehydrated and in need of urgent care!
Only 1 in 1000 will make it to maturity so the more we can save, the better!
Turtles also commonly mistake plastic bags for jellyfish (one of their favourite foods), and other bits of plastic as food.
Sadly, plastic ingestion can kill turtles by preventing digestion – it blocks up their stomachs, they no longer feel hungry and can stop eating altogether.
Midas was a Green turtle that came to the Dolphin Discovery Centre (DDC) in 2018 after being washed up near Bunbury. He was severely underweight and covered in algae.
Even though Midas was well looked after at the DDC, unfortunately he did not survive and the main cause of death was the amount of plastic found in his stomach.
As you can see below, this included bits of rope, rubber gloves and even drink bottle labels...
Another turtle is currently being rehabilitated at the DDC, who has also consumed plastic.
Toni is a Loggerhead turtle that was found on Cheyne’s Beach in Albany.
He* received much needed medical attention from Perth Zoo before being set up for rehabilitation at the DDC.
Aside from missing his rear right flipper, he appeared to be in a good condition.
It wasn’t until a few days later when bits of balloon were found in Toni’s poo, that it was clear how much this little guy had been through - he was only around 1 years old and was already suffering from the affects of plastic pollution!
Toni was very lucky that the balloon didn’t get stuck in his stomach - we always get very excited the first time a turtle poops!
Releasing balloons is a common gesture to remember loved ones or celebrate an occasion.
However, what goes up, must come down and unfortunately most of the time they end up in our oceans where they are either eaten, or they entangle marine life.
Thankfully, unlike Midas, Toni is on the road to a complete recovery and will hopefully get released back up in Exmouth as early as next year. He is well over 3kgs now!
About 30 turtles all up have been admitted to the DDC this year... hopefully these guys have had a much better diet than balloons!
MBC encourage the use of reusable items where possible to reduce the use of single use plastics.
Here are some environmentally friendly alternatives to releasing balloons:
- Planting a remembrance tree
- Blowing bubbles
- Lighting candles
- Reusable bunting
- Leaf confetti (use hole-punches to create different shapes)
- Paper decorations
You can read more about Toni at https://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/article/toni-the-turtle, or come and say hello to him at the Dolphin Discovery Centre!
If you come across any stranded hatchlings on the beach:
- Throw them back into the ocean
- Put them in a bucket of water
- Put them in a closed bucket/plastic bag
- Wrap them in a damp cloth/towel and place them in a tub (no lid)
- Take them to your nearest vet, or
- Call DBCA Wildcare Helpline on 08 9474 9055
You can also support the rehabilitation of the DDC rescue turtles through adoption. Check out
https://dolphindiscovery.com.au/ for more info.
*It is currently unknown if Toni is a male or female as their gender isn’t indicated until maturity, but is referred to as he for now.