BOCA RATON, Fla. — A troubling new photo is raising awareness and concerns about the dangers of plastics in South Florida waters.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center of Boca Raton posted a photo on its Facebook page earlier this week showing a baby turtle that had eaten 104 pieces of plastic and tragically passed away.
In the picture, the small chunks of plastic are lined up next to the turtle.
Gumbo Limbo said this time of year is known as "washback" season, meaning turtles that have ventured out to sea are starting to wash back up along our coast.
The nature center said 100 percent of washback turtles that have plastic in their intestinal tracts don't survive, like the turtle in the Facebook post.
"This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free," Gumbo Limbo wrote.
WPTV reported earlier this year that the Florida Oceanographic Society is working with the University of Central Florida and other agencies to study the harmful impacts of microplastics on marine life.
Scientists say microplastics form from plastic that ends up in the ocean through pollution. They break down into tiny pieces and get eaten by sea creatures.
WPTV's Miranda Christian is working this story, and will provide updates throughout the day.