Wednesday, November 18, 2015

City of Melbourne Workers Rescue Turtle From Plastic Grocery Bag

City of Melbourne employees saved a turtle that was tangled in a plastic grocery bag on Harper Road in Melbourne, Florida.

Last week, the City of Melbourne’s Energy Program Manager, Julie Foster, was walking across an open field to one of the buildings at the complex and passed by the large retention pond known as “Pee Wee’s Pond.”

“I noticed a plastic bag in our pond, moving fairly quickly just underneath the water,” Foster said. “Upon closer inspection, I found a turtle trapped with the plastic bag wrapped around its body.”

She turned to go find help and saw Mike Whiddon and Tim Fish of the City’s Parks Department driving by with a trailer full of lawn tools in tow. She waved them down and within moments they used their tools to carefully lift the turtle from the water and quickly removed the plastic bag from around its body. The turtle was then freed. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, plastic bag litter is known to be lethal to marine wildlife, killing at least 100,000 birds, whales, seals and turtles every year. Additionally, plastic bags tend to decompose into smaller pieces that can easily enter the food chain and disrupt marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Plastic bags, which take 400 to 1,000 years to biodegrade, are a main source of stormwater pollution and a major maintenance issue in stormwater management systems, city officials say. Retail plastic bags clog pipes and drainage ditches. These bags are the number one “fly away” issue for landfills and they can easily become airborne and blow into adjacent properties. These bags also create a significant litter problem for streets, beaches and the marine environment. It is estimated that plastic makes up 80 percent of the volume of litter on roads, parks and beaches.

Article source and photo credit: City of Melbourne