How Does Pollution Affect Sea Turtles

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• Habitat loss Sea turtles are dependent on beaches for nesting. Uncontrolled coastal development, vehicle traffic on beaches, and other human activities have directly destroyed or disturbed sea turtle nesting beaches around the world. Turtle feeding grounds such as coral reefs and sea grass beds are damaged and destroyed by activities onshore, including sedimentation from clearing of land and nutrient run-off from agriculture.
• Climate change All stages of a sea turtle’s life are affected by environmental conditions such as temperature—even the sex of offspring. Unusually warm temperatures caused by climate change are disrupting the normal ratios, resulting in fewer male hatchlings. Warmer sea surface temperatures can also lead to the loss of important foraging grounds for sea turtles, while increasingly severe storms and sea level rise can destroy critical nesting beaches and damage nests.
• Marine Pollution
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New research suggests that a disease now killing many sea turtles -fibropapillomas-may be linked to pollution in the oceans and in near shore waters. When pollution enters the water, it contaminates and kills aquatic plant and animal life that is often food for sea turtles. Oil spills, urban runoff from chemicals, fertilizers and petroleum all contribute to water pollution. Because the ocean is so large, many incorrectly assume that pollutants will be diluted and dispersed to safe levels, but in reality the toxins released from these pollutants become more concentrated as they break down in size. As a result, these smaller, more toxic particles become food for many links in the food chain, including sea

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