Science

Dead whale had 115 plastic cups in stomach

Dead whale had 115 plastic cups in stomach”

Indonesia has one of the largest plastic pollution problems in the world.

A dead sperm whale that washed ashore, in Wakatobi National Park in Sulawesi province. They had received a report from environmentalists that villagers surrounded the dead whale and were beginning to butcher the rotting carcass, park chief Heri Santoso said.

"It's really troubling to think that we may, down the road, start to have some of our sperm whales wash ashore with stomachs full of plastic".

All this plastic refuse had coalesced into a clump in the 9.5-metre (31.17-foot) whale's stomach.

The waste in its stomach included 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two flip-flops, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 other plastic pieces.

"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.

Environmentalists were unable to discover whether the animal was killed by the plastic because it had already decomposed significantly.

According to Greenpeace, Britain has shipped more than 2.7million tonnes of plastic waste to China and Hong Kong since 2012.

A 2015 report by Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment found that over 50% of the plastic leaking into world oceans comes from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, suggesting that the two whales died in risky waters for marine life.

At the end of last year, the United Nations said marine life was facing "irreparable damage" from the approximately 10m tonnes of plastic waste ending up in the oceans every year.

These statistics make for grim reading, especially when the diversity and variety of Indonesia's marine life is taken into consideration.

"I think the ultimate solution is people have to use less plastic", he said, adding that it's up to government to come up with policies that change consumer behaviour on a large scale.

Researchers found 6 kg of plastic in the animal's stomach.

The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands has pledged to reduce marine plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025.

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



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