Local ENGO Nature Trust Malta is calling upon Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Maltese government to work towards reducing marine debris after a dead turtle was found entangled in waste.
The turtle, which was a juvenile loggerhead, was found almost completely covered in abandoned fishing nets.
Nature Trust Malta has encountered countless marine animals that have been adversely impacted by marine debris.
“This is not a one-off case, as during 2020, more turtles were brought ashore entangled in such marine debris. One turtle, Maggie – now at our rehab centre – lost three of its four flippers,” the NGO said.
“Furthermore, one of the turtles rescued during December 2020 was recently found to have had in its stomach over 28 grams of plastic. Had these not come out, the turtle could have suffered complications and even possible death.”
As of 1st January, Malta banned the importation of a number of single-use plastic products. The ban applies to items such as plastic bags, cutlery, straws, plates, cotton bugs, food containers, and stirrers.
The Environment Ministry had said that Malta is one of the first countries in the EU to ban certain single-use plastic products.
Despite this incentive, Nature Trust Malta insists that more action should be taken.
“Although this is a step in the right direction and it should be commended, this alone will not solve the issue of marine plastic debris. Debris is ending up in the stomachs of thousands of marine animals, either killing them outright or causing them to wither away in extreme suffering,” the NGO wrote.
“In the case of fish that people consume, micro-plastics are now ending up in our plates and system too. Humans are now poisoning themselves.”
In light of these issues, Nature Trush Malta called upon the government to promote more sustainable methods of fishing.