x
Mae West when she was first found, trapped in a milk jug ring. (Photo via 5 Gyres Institute)

Mae West when she was first found, trapped in a milk jug ring. (Photo via 5 Gyres Institute)

Have you seen this photo circulating on the internet? That’s Mae West, a snapping turtle severely damaged by plastic pollution, that 5 Gyres just transported from the east coast to southern California.

Mae West was found twenty years ago in the drainage canals of New Orleans. As a tiny hatchling, she inadvertently walked into a plastic milk jug ring and got stuck. As she grew she could not break his plastic belt around her waist. Her shell is permanently deformed, giving her an hourglass-like shape.

There is no reason why a single use throwaway item, like a milk jug ring, should be made from a material designed to last forever.

This turtle demonstrates that the design of a plastic product matters. It is the combination of poor design and poor waste management that causes the majority of suffering due to plastic.

We first met the turtle in 2007 – we were in New Orleans, found out Mae West was had been living in Debbie Pearson’s backyard, under her care. Anna (5 Gyres co-founder & my wife) and I both really wanted her to live someplace where she could also be viewed, and share her story with the public.

Mae West today, in Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: 5 Gyres)

Mae West today, in Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: 5 Gyres)

We began working on getting her to LA in 2011, and now the circle is finally complete – we took her yesterday to Star Eco Station in Culver City, CA. She’ll be under quarantine for 2 months, then you can visit her!

DONATE TO FIGHT PLASTIC POLLUTION

(This article originally appeared on 5 Gyres. It has been reprinted here with permission.)

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS
FROM THE FRONT LINES

#KnowYourPlanet

Get the top stories from Planet Experts — right to your inbox every week.

Send this to a friend