Whale dies after swallowing 8kg of plastic waste

  • A pilot whale died last week in southern Thailand after eating more than 80 plastic bags and other debris, Agence France-Presse reports.
  • A veterinary team rescued the whale and attempted to “stabilize its illness,” according to AFP, but it died Friday after vomiting five plastic bags. An autopsy exhumed 8 kg (more than 17 lb) of additional plastic rubbish from the whale’s stomach, the department said in a Facebook post.
  • The department’s chief theorized that the whale had mistaken the plastic bags for food, but after eating them had become “sick and unable to hunt for food,” Reuters reports.
  • The pilot whale wasn’t the only recent casualty of ocean pollution; in April, a 33-foot sperm whale found dead on a Spanish beach had more than 60 lb of garbage in its digestive system.
  • Around the world, 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in oceans every year, comprising 80% of all ocean litter, according to the U.N. Environment Programme. A March study found that a collection of 1.8 trillion pieces of trash in the Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch could amount to 16 times more waste than previously thought.
  • In May, the Thai government said it was considering a introducing a tax on disposable plastic shopping bags or introducing biodegradable alternatives to cut down on plastic waste, according to the Bangkok Post.

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