Diver Saves Sea Turtle From Choking On Plastic Bag

Posted on December 1st 2017

Sea Turtle

A diver rescued a sea turtle from certain death after the turtle swallowed a plastic bag that ended up becoming lodged eight inches down the adult female’s throat. Saeed Rashid a lecturer at Bournemouth University was diving in the Red Sea when he came across a couple of Hawksbill turtles that were feeding on jellyfish. After snapping a number of pictures Mr Rashid realised that the female turtle was experiencing some distress and could not feed because the plastic bag was blocking her airway.

Turtle was starving

Mr Rashid decided to act and pulled the bag free from the sea turtle’s throat allowing the turtle who was clearly starving to feed once again. Mr Rashid said as he got close to the turtle and took a couple of pictures of her feeding he realised there was a plastic bag in her mouth and she was unable to eat. Instead she was simply nudging at the jellyfish and was obviously in distress. Mr Rashid has over 20 years of diving experience and has travelled all over the world but says there has been a massive increase in the amount of plastic pollution that is floating around the world’s oceans.

Plastic pollution is a major problem

Mr Rashid says he has tried to collect what he can but his efforts are meaningless in comparison to the sheer scale of plastic pollution in the ocean. He adds that when he realised the situation the turtle was in he put away his camera and attempted to pry the bag from its mouth. The bag was not only lodged in her mouth but extended all the way down her throat. This meant he had to hold onto the turtle’s shell and physically wrestle it from her. Fortunately, the turtle remained calm and allowed him to manhandle her. But once her mouth was open, the bag came out.

The turtles seemed grateful

The irony of the situation was, as soon as she was freed of the first bag, a second bag floated by that she also tried eat. Mr Rashid was quick to remove that bag from her sights and the turtle then went about her business eating jellyfish. After removing the plastic, Mr Rashid says both turtles followed him to the surface and began to play with him.

Public outrage

If you have been watching Blue Planet II then you will be acutely aware of the effect that plastic has on ocean life. In one scene of the series, a pilot whale was shown carrying her dead newborn around for days, simply unable to let it go. The episode sparked outrage amongst viewers and campaigners because the program suggested the calf had been poisoned by its mother’s polluted milk.

There are solutions to the problem

The Treasury is considering imposing a tax on plastic items such as throwaway trays for ready meals. Greenpeace has been aggressively campaigning against microbeads and it has paid off. The Government has promised to outlaw their use in cosmetics. The 5p tax on plastic bags has worked and resulted in a dramatic fall in their usage.

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