.........BERHAMPUR: Timely action by members of Samudrika Kaincha Surakhya Samiti at Gokhorakuda in Ganjam district saved a female sea turtle which was stuck in a plastic bag on Thursday.
Samiti member Rabindra Sahu along with his associates spotted the 74 cm long turtle, weighing over 50 kg, entangled in the plastic bag while patrolling in the sea. They freed the reptile from the bag and released it in the sea.
Sahu said since November, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles have been arriving at Rushikulya estuary for mating which will continue till the end of January.
The crew members of trawlers engaged in fishing beyond the restricted zone carry food in plastic and polythene bags. After use, they throw these bags in the sea. The food remnants attract the turtles, who get into the bags only to be trapped inside, said Sahu who is working for protection of Olive Ridleys since the 90s.
It is high time people venturing into the sea stopped throwing plastic and polythene bags in the water or else mortality of Olive Ridleys may rise, he said and added that plastic pollution poses a grave threat to the survival of the endangered sea turtles.
Though elaborate measures have been put in place by Wildlife and Forest officials as well as local volunteers to protect the turtles, a large number of Olive Ridleys are dying due to fishing nets used by the trawlers.