Dead whale found with 1000 pieces of plastic in stomach

Cristina Cross
November 21, 2018

"It's probably a question of government leading the way to ensure that we don't take the easy way out to use something that is that disposable and harmful to the environment but make wise choices for the future".

Wakatobi district, a picturesque collection of four main islands surrounded by a marine reserve, has urged Indonesia's central government to help tackle the problem of marine debris.

"As the sperm whale that died off Indonesia had eaten flip-flops, bottles, bags and 115 drinking cups, we should keep in mind that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans if we don't act now", tweeted the Green Party at the European Parliament.

All this plastic refuse had coalesced into a clump in the 9.5-metre (31.17-foot) whale's stomach. Wildlife conservation group WWF and authorities found about 5.9kg of plastic waste in the mammal's stomach, including 115 plastic cups, 4 plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, 2 flip-flops, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 assorted pieces of plastic.

Five Asian nations - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand - account for up to 60 per cent of plastic waste leaking into oceans, said a 2015 report by the environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment.

"Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly bad", conservationist Dwi Suprapti of WWF-Indonesia told CNN.

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Environmentalists were unable to discover whether the animal was killed by the plastic because it had already decomposed significantly. More than one million tonnes of plastic end up in their oceans every year.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia's coordinating minister for maritime affairs, told the AP that he sees plastic waste as a "common enemy".

He said: "I'm so sad to hear this".

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

The government has vowed to reduce usage of plastic by 70% by 2025.

While it's unclear why the animals are consuming plastic, Trites said it's likely that they're either mistaking the waste for food or treating it like toy, adding that "it's accumulating if they're not able to get rid of it".

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