Renewed call to curb plastic pollution in oceans

Tuesday 29 December 2020 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Local, National

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Renewed call to curb plastic pollution in oceans
Ramana Welsh is pictured swimming with a green sea turtle on Christmas day. Welsh and her son Temanava enjoyed this special experience with the help of guide Charlotte Piho. PHOTO: CHARLOTTE PIHO/20122842

Waterwoman and renowned photographer Charlotte Piho has made renewed calls to end ocean plastic waste after a turtle found to have ingested a plastic bag was found dead on a Rarotonga beach last week.

Her calls follow the sad discovery of the washed up dead green turtle on Rutaki beach last week.

After a close inspection, it was found that a piece of plastic had become stretched tightly across the inside of its throat.

Piho, a multi-international award winning ocean photographer, said: “Turtles have a special place in my heart and for all those that have swam with them here in the Cook Islands. So, this news is so, so sad.”

“Green sea turtles, most common here in Rarotonga, represent a continuous connection between land and sea. Their lives are a constant cycle of nesting on land and travelling the seas.

“Unfortunately, they are heavily impacted by plastic pollution as they travel in the same currents that carry plastic debris; often mistaking the scent of stinky plastic for food.”

Piho has offered some plastic free tips other than the well-known reusable water bottles/reusable shopping bags and bamboo straws:

- Switch to a compostable bamboo toothbrush. Plastic toothbrushes are a common item found in clean-ups.

- If having a drink 'to go' use a reusable cup.  500 billion disposable coffee cups are produced each year.

- If you see plastic, pick it up. Every single piece of plastic you remove from the environment makes a difference.

“Remember big problems are often solved with small actions undertaken by many individuals.”