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Bottles, cups, flip-flops: 6kg of plastic found inside dead whale in Indonesia

21 November 2018
Bottles, cups, flip-flops: 6kg of plastic found inside dead whale in Indonesia

One MEP claimed that if no action was taken against plastic pollution "by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean".

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.

A sperm whale found dead in a national park in Indonesia had almost 6kg of plastic waste, including 115 cups, in its stomach, park officials said on Tuesday (Nov 20).

Upon further examination of the dead whale, it was found to have swallowed almost six kilograms of plastic waste.

Dwi Suprapti, a World Wildlife Fund Indonesia marine species conservation co-ordinator said: "Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly bad".

Due to the whale's state of decay, it was not possible to determine if the plastic was the cause of death.

Dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in its stomach. Credit WWF Indonesia
Dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in its stomach. Credit WWF Indonesia

A dead sperm whale that washed ashore, in Wakatobi National Park in Sulawesi province.

Wakatobi park plans to bury the whale on Tuesday and its remains will be used for study by the local marine academy, Reuters reported.

According to a study published in the journal Science back in January, Indonesia is the world's second-largest plastic polluter after China, producing about 3.2 million tons of mismanaged plastic waste a year, almost 1.3 million of which end up in the ocean. Other animals that consume seafood also ingest plastic, so do every other organism that follows in the food chain.

It's hard to know exactly how much is making its way into the ocean, but a 2015 study found that the figure was up to 12.7 million metric tons in 2010 alone. The overall aim is to reduce their plastic waste by 70 percent in the next seven years. Unfortunately, only half of that trash reaches landfills.

"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.

The Indonesian co-ordinating minister of maritime affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said that the government had been shocked into action following the discovery of the whale.