Half of the 23 protected green turtles sent to Ocean Park after being rescued from sea in the past five years had their intestines blocked by marine debris. The theme park revealed this Thursday, and also said one of the rescued animals received the first ever advanced intestinal surgery for a turtle in December. The juvenile turtle, nicknamed ‘Elmo’, was found on Silverstrand Beach last November in critical condition. Campaigners hand government medical waste washed ashore in Hong Kong, in call for action Examinations showed that Elmo had fish hooks, fishing nets, fishing lines and plastics in her abdomen which caused a ruptured colon and obstruction of the intestinal tract, according to Dr Paolo Martelli, director of veterinary service at the park. He said 12 out of 23 sea turtles they received in the past five years were affected by marine debris. Suzanne Gendron, executive director of zoological operations and education, said: “Elmo’s unfortunate experience shows how human activities, especially our pollution to the ocean, threaten marine lives. We must alter the bad habits in our daily lives to conserve the ocean.” She added that besides ingesting debris, turtles can also get entangled in fishing nets and lines. Veterinary surgeons had to remove portions of Elmo’s bowels and join the healthy ends on each side of the gaps. The turtle is expected to recover and the team hopes that she can be released back into the wild this summer. ‘We will clean it ourselves’: Hongkongers clear unprecedented amount of rubbish washed up on city’s beaches Hong Kong’s beaches and oceans have seen a recent surge in debris, with six to ten times the usual volume of marine refuse recorded. Heavy rain and flooding on the mainland are attributed to this issue, with strong winds and currents pushing debris towards Hong Kong. Environmental groups have also said that illegal dumps on the shore of Wailingding Island, near Hong Kong Island, add to the increase of trash. Marine debris, often a result of careless human dumping, can severely harm sea creatures. Turtles are particularly susceptible to ingesting garbage, especially plastic, because it can resemble natural prey such as jellyfish. Sea turtles, especially the endangered green turtles, are affected by garbage both in the ocean and on land. Garbage on beaches prevents the turtles from laying eggs and breeding. Green turtles are protected in Hong Kong because their only nesting site is Sham Wan beach on Lamma Island, which has been littered with trash. Since 2000, Ocean Park has received 41 sea turtles. They request any persons finding a sea turtle in poor condition to call 1823 and report it to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.