Dead sperm whale found washed ashore with 115 cups in its stomach
21 November, 2018, 15:32 | Author: Tara Reeves
If you are one of those who is shaken only when a crisis hits home, consider this: Plastic in fish means contaminated seafood for humans - you may not even know it as most of these are in the form of microfibre. There were more than 1,000 individual pieces of plastic including four bottles, 115 cups, a sack, and 25 single use carrier bags.
Upon further examination of the dead whale, it was found to have swallowed almost six kilograms of plastic waste.
"Although we can't say for sure that the death was caused by plastic, the whale had digested over 1,000 plastic pieces, including 115 plastic cups", the United Kingdom branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said in a tweet.
She said that the animal's advanced state of decay made it hard to determine whether the plastic had caused the whale's death.
Rescuers from Wakatobi National Park found the rotting carcass of the 31ft sperm whale in southeast Sulawesi province after receiving a report that villagers had started to butcher it.
Wakatobi park said it planned to bury the whale carcass at high tide on Tuesday, with the remains to be used for study purposes by the local marine academy.
The use of throwaway plastic is a particular problem in some South East Asian countries, including Indonesia.
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It produces 3.2 million tons of mismanaged plastic waste a year, of which 1.29 million tons ends up in the ocean.
It's not known exactly how the whale died.
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".
Last year, the Indonesian government announced it will pledge $1 billion a year toward reducing marine waste by 70 percent by 2025.
Pandjaitan has pushed the government to take tougher action on plastic to help protect our oceans.
Pandjaitan also said that the grim find should raise awareness amongst the general population of Indonesia regarding plastic use and waste.
"My first reaction was 'Not again.' This is now I think the fourth time this year that a sperm whale has washed ashore with huge amounts of plastic in the stomach", Andrew Trites, the director of UBC's Marine Mammal Research Unit told CTV News.
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