posted on ABC news an Australian news source
'Shocking case': plastic kills turtle
A green sea turtle has been found dead on a New South Wales beach with more than 300 pieces of plastic in its digestive system.
The turtle was found washed up at Ballina, in the state's north, earlier this month.
Australian Seabird Rescue spokeswoman Rochelle Ferris says it is the most shocking case she has seen in 15 years.
She says there is no doubt the plastic killed the animal.
"We see 40 or 50 sea turtles each year that are suffering from plastic ingestion," Ms Ferris said.
"This is definitely an extreme of that, but we're only looking at 250 kilometres of coastline.
"There's a million turtles out there on the Barrier Reef of this species and I have no doubt there are more out there in this condition.
"The governments must take charge of stormwater drainage that goes into our rivers and waterways, which is just feeding a constant stream of this garbage into our marine environment.
"It has to be better filtering of stormwater drains.
"I understand the complexities of this issue... but the governments are going to have to increase regulation of the waste treatment that's coming out of urban areas."
Update posted July 1, 2011
The former state Greens MP, Ian Cohen, says the packaging industry should take more responsibility for cleaning up its own mess.
The amount of plastic waste in the ocean is under renewed scrutiny after the death of a green sea turtle which washed up at South Ballina Beach.
It had more than 300 pieces of plastic in its digestive system.
Mr Cohen says his failed container-deposit legislation would have made the plastics industry accountable and reduced the amount of rubbish in the ocean.
"They would rather push it over to councils or the general public or have it shoved into landfill," he said.
"They don't really have that impetus and it's a disaster, between container deposit or lack of and polluting our marine environment there's a huge toll.
"It needs to have a mentality of recycling everything and that's something that container-deposit legislation would be very valuable in doing, but we were thwarted by the packaging industry in NSW that had great power.
"They did everything to stop that and I am very concerned that the Coalition government would be even closer to the packaging industry, so I wouldn't hold my breath about getting that," Mr Cohen said.