More than two kilograms of plastic waste was found inside a dead sea turtle discovered on a beach in central Thailand on Sunday. Marine biologists from the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre examined the 20-year-old female turtle.
The center said on Facebook on Sunday night that they discovered 100 grams of fishing net and other plastic waste, totaling more than two kilograms, in its stomach and gut. Nylon filament, plastic, and small nails were also found.
On Sunday morning, a dead turtle washed up on Kinnaree beach in Chonburi, Province and was taken to the navy’s turtle conservation center for examination.
The center stated that it could not determine when the sea turtle died but that the sea garbage it ate was the cause of death.
The marine reptile had previously been microchipped, and veterinarians used the ID number to track its previous movements.
The center did not disclose the turtle’s weight, only stating that its shell was 90 centimeters wide and 96.5 centimeters long.
Plastic Waste in the Gulf of Thailand
Thailand is more aware than ever of plastic waste’s threat to the ecosystem and environment, particularly plastic waste in the oceans. As reported in the news, marine life is ingesting plastic waste and suffering greatly.
Tara Buakamsri, Thailand’s country director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, campaigns against pollution and is concerned about the plastic phenomenon in the Gulf of Thailand.
Tara described the plastic trash problem as “the tip of the iceberg.”
“The plastic problem is serious, as are other global environmental issues.” But we didn’t see it because it didn’t appear to our eyes until recently,” Tara explained.
According to the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment’s 2015 Stemming the Tide report, Thailand is the sixth worst offender for dumping plastics into the sea.
Tara cited a Marine and Coastal Resources Department report from last year, which stated that at least 300 sea animals died each year from consuming plastic-based fishing gear and trash, with whales and dolphins accounting for 60% of the total.
Rare Dolphins Spotted in Gulf of Thailand
According to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Irrawaddy dolphins, Indo-Pacific finless porpoises, and Bryde whales have been spotted in the Upper Gulf of Thailand.
A research team discovered the three endangered species during a recent survey of rare and endangered marine species in the region.
A pod of Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) was discovered at the Tha Chin River delta in Samut Sakhon and off the coast of Ban Laem district in Phetchaburi’s northeastern region.
A pod of finless porpoises was also spotted near Samut Sakhon’s shore.
Twelve Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera edeni) were discovered along the coast of Samut Sakhon by the research team. The department identified six of them using photo IDs because the team had been recording them for years. They were given the names Chao Mee Sap, Chao Kwan Khao, Chao Sa Rin, Chao Wan Rung, Mae Sakhon, and Mae Wan Dee by the team.
Veterinarians examined eight Bryde whales and discovered they were in good health overall. Seven of the whales, however, had tattoo-like scarring discovered by the vets. One had a scratch on the right side of its body as well.
The department stated that they would continue to monitor the whales’ health and conduct surveys on rare and endangered species in the area.