The coastal region of odisha is a favorite haunt of olive ridley turtles and they arrive there at this time of the year to lay their eggs. However, plastic bags that litter the beach pose a major threat to the very survival of these turtles.

Telegraph India reports that this is their mating season and a large number of the turtles have arrived at the Rushikulya rookery. One female was seen floating helplessly near the mouth of a river. It was trapped in a torn Plastic Bag and was unable to come out. The local Sea Turtle Protection Committee rescued it and sent it back to the sea.

The menace of plastics

Members of the protection committee maintain a close watch over these olive ridley turtles since they are on the endangered list. According to a member of the committee, the trapping of a turtle inside a plastic bag was a new one. There have been occasions when they were killed after being caught in the fishing nets of trawlers. The authorities in Odisha have already taken action to restrict the movement of these trawlers in the area to save the turtles, and incidents of that nature have also reduced.

It is difficult to identify the source of the bag or how it came to be on the scene. One possibility is that it was dropped by one of the local fishermen. They usually leave in the morning and return in the evening, and carry food with them, probably in such bags.

One of them could have thrown it away once it was empty. Traces of leftover food inside the bag could have attracted the turtle and it must have crawled in. People must realize that plastic waste is harmful to the environment because it does not disintegrate but remains for ages and can kill marine creatures.

Plastic bags must be banned

In order to ensure a clean environment free from plastic wastes, it is necessary to ban the use of plastic bags. Many companies have already initiated action on these lines. CNBC reports that a leading U.K. supermarket chain has committed to do away with plastic packaging from its own products. The company specializes in frozen food and it plans to achieve its target by the end of 2023.

It is serious about the drive to counter the menace of plastic waste and has already removed disposable plastic straws from its own label products. It has also introduced paper-based food trays instead of plastic ones.

Odisha should explore possibilities of eliminating plastic bags for packaging to avoid repetition of the Olive Ridley Turtle incident so they can be safe.