88 Pounds of Plastic Waste Found in Whale’s Stomach!
With over 88 pounds of plastic lodged in his stomach, a male Cuvier’s beaked whale beached himself and died in March of this year. Unable to expel the plastic, the whale dehydrated, starved, and almost certainly suffered a prolonged and painful death. To protect cetaceans from these unnecessary and cruel deaths, we need to take a stance against plastics, especially single-use plastics!
The young dead whale washed ashore in the Philippines, where marine biologist Darrell Blatchley performed a necropsy to determine the cause of death. Finding plastic while investigating is nothing new for Blatchley and his team who have already found plastic waste in three dead cetaceans this year.
What was staggering about this whale was the quantity of plastic found, weighing in at an astonishing 88 pounds. And the problem is only getting worse.
According to The United Nations Environmental Programme, the equivalent of one full garbage truck of plastic waste is being dumped into the ocean every single minute.
Blatchley fears we are losing marine mammals faster than they can adapt to not eat the plastic waste that inundates their declining habitats.
Sadly, it appears his fears are justified as an alarming 100,000 marine mammals are killed every year due to plastics discarded by humans.
The oceans are being used as the world’s trash receptacle: even if the plastic is not thrown directly into the ocean, it will most likely find its way there. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent more plastic from entering marine habitats.
Simple switches like pledging to never use single-use plastics and bringing reusable containers and bags with you can help, though putting pressure on oil companies producing this waste in the first place, and as supporting progressive initiatives such as the Green New Deal, are necessary as well. Additionally, communities around the world are banning the use of some harmful plastics, such as plastic bags; proposing and supporting these efforts is vital.
Click here to learn more about the harms facing both captive and wild cetaceans.