Turtle rescued from plastic bag

Plastic bags are threat to the olive ridley turtles that have come here for mass nesting.

By Sunil Patnaik in Berhampur
  • Published 12.01.18
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Plastic menace: The olive ridley turtle caught in a plastic bag at Rushikulya on Wednesday before its rescue. Picture by Gopal Krushna Reddy

Berhampur: Plastic bags are threat to the olive ridley turtles that have come here for mass nesting.

"We rescued a female olive ridley around 2km from the shore on Wednesday. It was trapped in a torn plastic bag and was floating helplessly," said Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee secretary Rabindra Nath Sahu.

"We spotted it near the Rushikulya river mouth and were worried. But we saved it and released it into the sea," said Sahu, who undertook the operation with four others.

The turtles have congregated at the Rushikulya rookery and mating is on.

"We often go into the sea to monitor their activities. Me and my 56 committee members visit the sea regularly to observe. During my 24 years of voluntary service to protect the sea turtles, I have never witnessed such an episode. Earlier, turtles have been trapped and killed by fishing nets of trawlers. But with the movement of the fishing trawlers being restricted in the area, such incidents are not being reported," Sahu said.

Replying to a question on how such a plastic bag might have landed in the water there, Sahu said it could have been dropped into the water by local fishermen.

"Most fishermen who venture out into the sea in the morning and return in the evening usually carry food in such bags, They might have thrown away the bags into the sea after lunch. The food particles in the bag may have attracted the turtle," Sahu said.

He said it was important to sensitise the fishermen not to dump plastic or polythene bags into the sea that may harm the turtles or other sea animals.