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Pollution proves fatal for turtles

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An Olive Ridley turtle at the beach in Visakhapatnam.
An Olive Ridley turtle at the beach in Visakhapatnam.

Nivedita Ganguly

VSPCA attributes death of hundreds of turtles to the presence of nitrite content in the vicinity of beaches

VISAKHAPATNAM: Recent tests conducted by the Visakha Society For Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) has given a fresh twist to the case of the Olive Ridley turtles that were washed ashore at Thikkavanipalem in Parawada mandal in December last year. The water collected from the beach has tested positive for nitrite, which in concentrated form is highly toxic and can cause death of aquatic creatures. The test reports indicate that the death of hundreds of Olive Ridley turtles occurred due to the presence of high levels of concentrated nitrite content in the vicinities of the Muthyalayapalem area beaches.

“A large number of dead fish and around two dozen dead dolphins were also spotted at the shore two months ago,” VSPCA president Pradeep Kumar Nath told The Hindu.

Nitrite content is high at places where large factory farms raise pigs and chicken. Chicken shit is deadly stuff and sea turtles are only some of the many victims.

‘No action plan’

VSPCA has submitted the findings of the reports to the Forest Department and the AP Pollution Control Board to study the toxic effects all along the coastal areas within the vicinity of the shrimp hatcheries, chemical laboratories and pharmaceutical companies. Environmentalists feel that lack of a proper action plan will not only cause destruction to the marine species but also heavy damage to the environment.

“We are not ruling out non-use of turtle exclusion device (TED) by the trawlers as one of the reasons behind this. But trawling activities are not so high in those areas. Authorities should come forward for a deeper investigation of this issue,” said Pradeep Kumar Nath.

During the year-end, a large number of Olive Ridley turtles, protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, arrive all along the coast of North Andhra to lay eggs. The famed Olive Ridleys cross oceans to nest in the Gahirmatha beach, part of Bhittarkanika wildlife sanctuary in Orissa, known for one of the largest nesting population of sea turtles in the world.

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