85% of the sea turtles cared for during the last year by the Foundation for the Conservation and Recovery of Marine Animals (Cram) had macroplastics in their bodies. These are the results of the fifth year of this organization’s study, which uses the remains found in these animals as an indication of pollution in our marine environment.

The foundation details in a statement that the number of animals entangled in marine trash, their feces, and the digestive contents were analyzed in the case of necropsies of all the specimens recovered in 2023. In total, 54 loggerhead turtles (caretta caretta) were treated. ), the most common species on our coasts, weighing up to one hundred kilos and a shell measuring up to one meter. Of those, 41 samples were analyzed, including feces and digestive content. Plastics appeared at a macroscopic level in 85% of them.

This percentage was even higher in the case of the feces analyzed. Of the 36 samples, plastic remains were found in 89% of them, the most common being the sheet type (29%), followed by filaments (12%) and plastic fragments (12%).

Plastic remains were also obtained in five of the six necropsies carried out in 2023. The accumulation of plastics in the digestive tract was not the cause of death of these individuals, but in several cases it did cause severe enteritis, which causes pain, anorexia and immunologically compromises the animal.

Of those analyzed, there was only one exception. Patient 44, in whom several intestinal perforations were found, the origin of which could have been the ingestion of the screws that she expelled from her during her stay at the center, which was the cause of her death.

In addition, specialists treated three sea turtles with gills in one of the fins, with amputation being necessary in one of the cases.

From the Cram Foundation, they remember that the discovery of plastics at both a macroscopic and microscopic level inside sea turtles is important at different levels: the plastic itself as a contaminant and the plastic acting as a chemical sponge against substances harmful to the body. health, such as mercury.

In his opinion, these high percentages of plastic remains inside indicate that the sea contains a large amount of waste of this type. Something that hinders the vital development of these species.