A young sea turtle that washed up on a South Florida beach this week had more than 100 pieces of plastic inside its body.
A photograph of the loggerhead sea turtle along with the microplastic pulled from inside its body posted on Facebook by the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, a nonprofit organization based in Boca Raton, went viral and currently has over 3,000 shares.
"It is an epidemic," said Whitney Crowder, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Coordinator at the center. "I believe we need to transform the role of plastics in our society. A lot of people aren't aware of negative effects. It's everywhere."
Crowder said that every one of the washbacks found — young turtles that were washed back to the beach after a few weeks in the ocean — had plastic inside their intestinal tracts.
Plastic like the one inside the sea turtle have been found in a wide array of sea life including crustaceans, jellyfish and whales, Crowder said.
"This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free," the Facebook post reads.
For more information about sea turtles visit the website of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.