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Entwined in a plastic bag; rare specie of turtle rescued

KARACHI: A turtle of a rare kind entwined in a plastic bag was saved, World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan officials said on Wednesday.

According to the WWF-P, plastic pollution has become a serious hazard to marine life and there is an instant need to generate consciousness of the dangers of precarious removal of waste, particularly plastic material, that repeatedly result in death of marine animals.

“I was on a tuna fishing boat operating 180 nautical miles from Karachi when I spotted a floating polypropylene woven bag, possibly discarded by some merchant ship. We decided to retrieve the bag and, to our utter surprise, we found an Olive ridley turtle fully entangled in the bag,” Amir Rahim, a WWF-P trained observer travelling on the pitcher said.

Finding it hard to get the animal free in the water, the team later drew the turtle inside the boat, prudently changed the plastic bag and unconfined it back into the sea, he said.

Amir Rahim expressed that he had seen many turtles tangled in moving fishing nets but this was the first time he saw a marine turtle lured in a floating bag.

“Fishermen and other seafarers need to be educated about the hazards of throwing plastic stuff into the sea as it may kill a marine animal,” he said.

“Commercial boats and merchant ships also contribute to this menace. Floating plastic is mistaken as food by animals that in most cases have serious and deadly consequences,” he said.

Extraordinary concentrations of plastic material, predominantly plastic bags, jammed the breathing way and belly of marine species, counting whales, dolphins, seals, puffins and turtles, and caused their death.

WWF-P senior director of biodiversity Rab Nawaz underlined the need to curb dumping of solid waste.

“There is a need to control disposal of solid waste and to undertake regular cleaning operations of beaches to remove accumulated plastic,” he added

With compact trash that runs down to the seashore and makes its way to the ocean, fishermen, too, donate to pollution by discarding an estimated 150,000 tonnes of plastic stuff into the ocean each year, say WWF-P officials.