115 Plastic Cups And 2 Thongs Found In Dead Whale's Stomach

by: Lucy Jones | 10 months ago | News

Plastic waste found inside a dead sperm whale. Image source.

A whale washed up on a beach in Indonesia last week with 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two thongs, a nylon bag and 1000 other pieces of plastic in its stomach. The sperm whale's 9.5-metre body was discovered in a marine national park in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Conservationists from Wakatobi National Park and researchers from WWF found a total of 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste inside the whale's body. 

"Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful," WWF marine species conservation coordinator Dwi Suprapti told reporters

Researchers were unable to determine if this majestic creature died from ingesting plastic products, but the sheer volume of waste found in its stomach is alarming. 

Indonesia is the second largest plastic polluter in the world, according to a study published in 2015. The country produces 3.2 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste every year and 1.29 million tonnes of that waste ends up in the ocean. The quantity of plastic found inside this whale shows just how huge the ocean pollution problem is. 

"I'm so sad to hear this," said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs. 

"It is possible that many other marine animals are also contaminated with plastic waste and this is very dangerous for our lives."

The Indonesian government is attempting to reduce pollution by encouraging shops to phase out plastic bags and educating school children about plastic waste. They hope these initiatives will reduce plastic use by 70% by 2025.

"This big ambition can be achieved if people learn to understand that plastic waste is a common enemy," Pandjaitan said. 

Via ABC News.

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