Polythene bags, nets pose threat to Olive Ridleys

Berhampur: Rampant use of polythene bags not only causes pollution to the environment, but also poses threat to marine creatures like the endangered Olive Ridley turtles on the coast of Rushikulya in Ganjam district.

Huge quantities of polythene bags are found afloat on the sea. The sea turtles inadvertently get into the bags in the mouth of Rushikulya. This has raised concern among ecologists.

The Rushikulya Turtles Protection Committee (RTPC), a local outfit, has been working towards turtle protection in the sea. RTPC member Rabinaryan Sahu and several other nature lovers had ventured into the sea Wednesday. They found a turtle having got stuck into a polythene bag. They managed to extricate it out of the bag and released into the sea.

According to Sahu, mating of Olive Ridley turtles takes place in the sea between November and January. Fishermen go into the sea for about a week and carry with them food stuff in polythene bags. After eating the food, they dump the polythene bags in the sea.

Small fish enter inside bags to feed on the leftover food. To eat the fish, turtles enter the polythene bags and end up getting entangled, Sahu explained.

“Polythene bags pose danger to turtles in this manner. Besides, fishermen using nets made of plastic. When fishing nets are no longer used, they throw them in the sea. Turtles get entangled in the nets,” Sahu said.

When stuck inside plastic nets, turtles get hurt. In the past, many wounded turtles have been rescued and treated before being released into the sea, Sahu added.    PNN

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