Why do marine creatures swallow plastic trash wrongly?

Scientists say it is no coincidence that marine creatures, especially turtles, eat plastic waste .

On the page of Economist , Dr. Joseph Pfaller - University of Florida (USA) and lead researcher, said plastic bags floating in the ocean are like jellyfish, not only similar in shape but also in scent .

Picture 1 of Why do marine creatures swallow plastic trash wrongly?
Sea turtles eat plastic waste easily because of the "olfactory trap" - (Image: GETTY IMAGES)

He explained that, when put into the ocean, over time plastic waste will smell like foods .

This process takes place when the bacteria, algae impact on plastic waste, soon cause the plastic to lose its inherent chemical smell, turning to a more natural smell.

This is considered a "trap" olfactory , making the animals of the ocean, especially sea turtles, easily accidentally swallowed. Whales, sea birds, etc. are also often the wrong species to eat plastic debris.

" Plastic waste attracts creatures from afar, not only because of its shape, but also because it tastes very much like food in the wild, " said Dr. Pfaller. 

The scientists came to the conclusion after testing on 15 captive sea turtles. They gave the turtles the smell of their food and the smell of ocean plastic waste, and recorded their reactions. As a result, they treat waste like food.

The research is published in the prestigious scientific journal Curent Biology . This finding partly helps explain why many vulnerable animals even die from plastic waste.

"All plastic straws, plastic bags in the ocean over time will have a special smell that attracts the animals to eat. This is also the cause of many deaths of sea turtles," according to Dr. Pfaller.

Previously, a study by Exeter University in 2018 also showed that more than 100 sea turtles participating in the survey contained more or less plastic waste inside the body.

The study also predicts that up to 99% of seabirds will eat plastic waste by 2050.

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