SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Sea Turtle Inc. and the Respeta tu Playa Group will join together on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to host the second annual “End of the Road“ beach cleanup.
The cleanup will remove trash that would otherwise harm and possibly even prevent sea turtle hatchlings from getting to the ocean. Because of red tide, the fall coastal cleanup was cancelled and the amount of trash that has accumulated on the beaches is more than usual.
“Trash might impede the hatchlings getting into the ocean, because they’re small little guys, so even water bottles are big obstacles,“ said Caitlin Bovery, educator with Sea Turtle Inc. “And unfortunately, the marine debris out there is not soft or malleable. It’s hard, it’s sharp, and it can cause injuries to not just sea turtles, but all marine line.“
Ocean pollution causes an estimated hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine animals to die each year, according to Sea Turtle Inc.
In South Padre Island, there are between 20 to 70 sea turtle nests a year, and nesting season begins in April and continues until early August.
“We encourage cleanups all-year round but especially during that time of year because the turtles will interact with the trash on the beach,“ Bovery said.
Sea Turtle Inc. has a rehabilitation center for sea turtles they find that have been injured due to marine debris.
The sea turtles can suffer injuries to their intestines if they ingest plastic and subsequently starve to death or get caught in debris and lose flippers.
“We have one right now that lost a flipper to entanglement. There are just a wide variety of injuries they can sustain and that we see each year,“ Bovery said.
The event will cover a 3-mile stretch of prime sea turtle nesting area.
Participants can register for the event at Beach Access No. 6 off of Highway 100, which is about six miles north of Sea Turtle, Inc.