Another Whale Found Dead With A Stomach Full Of Plastic

Sperm whale washed ashoreWWF/Kartika Sumolang

Yet another whale has fallen victim to the human plastic pollution problem plaguing our oceans.

Two flip-flops, 115 plastic cups, 25 plastic bags, and four plastic bottles were among the single-use plastic waste found inside of a dead sperm whale that washed ashore in Indonesia.

According to Greenpeace an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year, and according to Sea Turtle Conservancy, over one million marine animals (including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and birds) are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean.

WWF Indonesia posted photos of the whale and the staggering amount of plastic that was found inside of it to Twitter.

Their posts read:

Friend, a Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is stranded on Kapota Island, Wakatobi in a decaying condition (18/11).

The condition of the whale was found to be bad and the body parts were incomplete. The authorities cannot do necropsy / know the cause of death of the whale.

5.9 kg of plastic trash found in this poor whale’s stomach!

Plastic waste, namely: hard plastic (19 pieces, 140g), plastic bottles (4 pieces, 150g), plastic bags (25 pieces, 260g), flip flops (2 pieces, 270g), o-dominated / raffia rope ( 3.26kg) and plastic cups (115 pieces, 750g).

Individuals with the Wakatobi National Park found the dead sperm whale near the Sulawesi province on an island of Indonesia that is popular with diving tourists.

The 31-foot long whale is not alone, as there have been numerous other whales who have suffered due to ingesting plastic debris, Forbes reports.

The whale in Indonesia had ingested over 1,000 pieces of plastic. The cause of death can not be determined due to decay but wildlife experts believe the huge amount of plastic played a role.

These bottles, beads and bags cause numerous problems with larger pieces choking animals, while smaller pieces clog the stomachs of creatures who mistake it for food.

It’s not just the large pieces choking that causes problems though, as the plastics degrade the seawater absorbs dangerous pollutants like PCBs, DDT and PAH from the debris.

These chemicals are highly toxic and cause mutations in sea life and allow toxic chemicals to enter the food chain affecting all animals including humans.

Despite the hard work of groups like Greenpeace, a recent report for the UK government found that plastic levels in the world’s oceans are set to treble.

However, a Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) report suggested the number of plastic bags in UK waters had decreased as a direct result of measures to tackle plastic waste, Climate Action write.

Cefas undertook regular surveys around British waters from 1992 to 2017 and between 2010 and 2017 they found the number plastic bags in the water had reduced from between 20 to 40 percent.

They believe this is because of the 5p bag charge UK supermarkets have adopted in recent years.

The issue is truly devastating and unless humans take action, our world is going to be destroyed by pollution.

Following the news of the sperm whale dying in Indonesia, a petition was set up to immediately regulate plastic bag usage.

If you have a story you’d like to tell, contact UNILAD, via stories@unilad.co.uk.

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