Contact Us Blog Shop

By Bryan Nelson. Thu, Mar 24 2011 at 1:00 AM. mother nature network

As the world's experts on plastic pollution gather this week in Honolulu for the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference, a disturbing new report has been released that chronicles what decades of plastic pollution in our oceans has done to sea turtles. 
One of the more troubling stories from the report, which was issued by's Marine Turtle Newsletter (pdf), highlights an instance of a green sea turtle that had swallowed so much marine pollution that it pooped plastic for a month.
The turtle was rescued in 2009 after marine biologists in Melbourne Beach, Fla., noticed that it seemed to be having problems digesting food. After dislodging a large piece of plastic from the animal's gastrointestinal tract, the turtle proceeded to defecate 74 foreign objects over the next month. Some of those objects included four types of latex balloons, five different types of string, nine different types of soft plastic, four different types of hard plastic, a piece of carpet-like material, and two large tar balls. Read more at