Dead sperm whale found in Indonesia had ingested '6kg of plastic'

  • Dead sperm whale found in Indonesia had ingested '6kg of plastic'

Dead sperm whale found in Indonesia had ingested '6kg of plastic'

The incident has shocked the country's government officials and environmentalists to the core.

Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem, but it's particularly bad in Asia, where there are few collection and recovery systems.

According to the Associated Press, rescuers from Wakatobi National Park discovered a large lump of plastic waste inside the 31-foot mammal's carcass Monday, which included 115 drinking cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two flip-flops, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 other assorted pieces of plastic.

A study published in December 2014 by USA and United Kingdom researchers suggested there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic weighing almost 269,000 tonnes now swirling in the world's oceans.

During an autopsy veterinarians found more than 80 plastic bags in the whale's stomach.

Researchers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the park's conservation academy uncovered more than 1,000 other pieces of plastic, including 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, 2 flip-flops and a nylon sack.

It is not clear whether the plastic what what eventually killed the whale, but the discovery nonetheless presents a stark example of the reality of ocean plastic pollution.

"Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly bad", Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation co-ordinator at WWF Indonesia, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Indonesia, ranked second behind China in the 2015 study of mismanaged plastic waste from populations living near coastal areas in 192 countries, has pledged US$1 billion a year to reduce marine plastic debris by 70 per cent by 2025.

At least 8 million tons of plastics wind up in the oceans each year, and it has a devastating effect on sea life.

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

"I'm so sad to hear this", said Mr Pandjaitan, who recently has campaigned for less use of plastic.

'It is possible that many other marine animals are also contaminated with plastic waste and this is very unsafe for our lives'. They can get trapped in plastic waste as well.

'This big ambition can be achieved if people learn to understand that plastic waste is a common enemy, ' he told AP.