Ten sea turtles washed ashore on Thai beaches in the past 3 months

(Photo) Nantarika Chunsue

Ten rare sea turtles have been washed ashore on Thailand’s beaches in the past three months, some of them already dead. The survivors are being treated by veterinarians. The turtles’ problems were all caused by plastic waste dumped into the sea by humans.

Thorn Thamrongnavasawat, vice dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University, admitted today that he was shocked to find out that five sea turtles have been washed up in just the past 4-5 days.

He said that some of them were found alive, like the one which landed on Pha-ngan Island in the southern province of Surat Thani and another on Thai Muang beach in Phuket province.

Those that had died were found to have stomachs full of waste plastic, said Thorn, adding that he felt very depressed about the death of the sea turtles because of plastic contamination.

Dolphins and whales have also been found to have died from eating plastic.

A dead 12-metre long sperm whale, which washed ashore on Lanta Yai Island in Krabi province last week, was found to have two plastic bottles and a plastic cup in its stomach, but the actual cause of death is still under investigation. Its teeth were also missing and are thought to have been stolen to make amulets.

Thorn said he has been campaigning against the dumping of plastic waste in the sea for more than two decades but found that campaigning alone is not enough to save the sea animals.

He suggested the use of drones or satellites to trace plastic refuse in the sea and on beaches and the information should be kept in database so that authorities concerned can take steps to get rid of the plastic once it accumulates to a level requiring disposal.



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