In the last month, I've come across two stories which directly show the devastation that trash can cause on our marine life.
In June, a pygmy sperm whale and her nursing calf were found rolling in the surf at Sullivan's Island outside of Charleston. As reported in the Post and Courier, the mother was unable to eat and was in severe pain. The young calf was unable to survive without the mother and would not leave her side. When found, the two were still alive but just too sick to survive. Following their death, a necropsy revealed that the mother had died due to ingesting a black plastic garbage bag.
Yesterday, the Bradenton Herald reported that a endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle is being treated at Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory's Sea Turtle Hospital after ingesting a black balloon. "Balloons can look like jellyfish or squid - things sea turtles like to eat," said Senior Biologist Kristen Mazzarella. The good news is that the turtle is expected to survive.
So bottom line, if you see trash on the beach or floating in the surf, please take the time to pick it up and put it in the proper receptacle. You just never know when such a simple good deed may save a life down the road.
Photo Credit: Pics from the respective articles.