According to a new study, More than half of the turtles found dead on the east coast of Sharjah had eaten marine debris, such as netting or pieces of plastic.
150 pieces of debris were found in the body of One turtle, while another had numerous punctures in the gastrointestinal tract.
According to Researchers, the public can help to combat the problem by cutting down on the number of plastic bags and other disposable items they use.
Overall, three-quarters of dead green turtles and 57 percent of dead loggerhead turtles had ingested items such as bottle caps, rope, and plastic bags.
Fadi Yaghmour, a researcher at the Environment and Protected Areas Authority of Sharjah and the study’s first author, described the debris as “a serious threat”.
He further said, “At first, we were surprised by the high frequency and quantities of marine debris being ingested, “We have seen young green sea turtles that have ingested over 300 pieces of plastic and other marine debris.
“It seems to have been something that’s gone undetected for a very long time, especially in an animal that’s received a lot of research attention.”
Green turtles tend to eat high quantities of lighter pieces of debris.
Their natural diet includes jellyfish, cuttlefish, algae, and seagrass, so the animals mistake debris like ropes and bags for food.
Loggerhead turtles eat gastropods, often snails and similar creatures, and bivalves, so hard plastics, such as bottle tops and metallic items seem to resemble their food.
Debris is mostly found in the turtles’ intestines and will typically pass through and be released.
However, particularly in green turtles, items such as plastic bags may become stuck in the esophagus – the tube connecting the throat and the stomach – and in the stomach, causing blockages that can prove fatal.