A shocking range of plastic, from sweet wrappers to packaging with Arabic script, has been discovered in a large marine turtle that died on the Italian coast.
The loggerhead turtle was found on a beach on the Cilento peninsula in the southern region of Campania.
When marine biologists performed a post-mortem on the animal, they found dozens of bits of plastic inside its stomach.
They included tattered bits of a plastic cup, an M&Ms sweet wrapper and six plastic filters, as well as packaging with a bar code that showed it was manufactured in Algeria.
The extent of plastic pollution in the turtle’s stomach was revealed by scientists from the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station in Naples.
“This is just the latest case, sadly, that should raise the alarm. We need to reduce our consumption of plastic and change our behaviour as consumers,” said marine biologist Sandra Hochscheid.
“People should avoid buying single-use plastic items like straws, cups and plates and when they are in bars and cafes, ask for a real glass rather than accept a plastic cup.”
The turtle was found near a coastal village called Marina di Camerota, on the picturesque Cilento peninsula. Weighing around 220lb (100kg), it was a male of breeding age.
The most widespread of turtle species in the Mediterranean, Caretta caretta is considered to be endangered.
They eat crabs, mollusks and jellyfish and reproduce every two to four years.