Ontario Turtle Tally
Urban Turtle Initiative
Healthy Water - Wildlife
Turtle Island Conservation
Aquatic Nuisance Species
Stormwater Retention Ponds
|Litter like this……
||Can lead to this……|
turtle deformed by
plastic six-pack rings
Aquatic litter and debris are any manufactured or processed solid waste that enters the aquatic environment from any source. In short, it is our misplaced waste and trash. Litter accumulating in waterways and beaches not only detracts from natural beauty of these areas, but also can be a health and safety hazard for humans and aquatic wildlife, particularly turtles. Turtles can drown from becoming entangled; choke or starve from confusing litter with food; or develop abnormally as seen above.
Although often carelessly discarded, balloons, plastic bags, Styrofoam and other non-degradable pollutants are very dangerous litter because they are often mistaken for food. Once eaten, they can choke, block digestion, and release toxic chemicals, such as PCB and DDE.
The main sources of litter on beaches and waterways in Ontario are from individuals using these areas for recreation and fishing, and from sewage spills. Clean up is expensive and time consuming, and often not covered by municipal crews. What can everyone do to help?
There are lots of things you can do to help save turtles from dangerous litter:
- Reduce, reuse and recycle at home
- Never flush non-degradable garbage
- Properly dispose of cigarette butts
- Never release balloons into the air (what goes up must come down!)
- When outside, put your garbage in a garbage can, or better still, take it with you and dispose of it at home. Public garbage cans often get full and overflow.
- Take a few seconds to collect any garbage that you may come across. Remember that by collecting just one piece, you could be saving a turtle's life!
- Participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup to clean up waterways in your area.
Did you know that cigarette butts are the most common type of litter on earth? Most cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic. The white fibers you see in a cigarette filter are NOT cotton, but a plastic that can persist in the environment as long as other forms of plastic. Cigarette butts are not just ugly-they also present a threat to wildlife. Plastic pieces have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds and turtles that mistake them for food. Toxic chemicals also leach out of cigarette butts and can kill small animals. Please make sure you always dispose of cigarette butts properly.
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