Published: Wed, November 21, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

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

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

In just the latest reminder of the dangers of pollution in our oceans, a dead whale in Indonesia has been found with 13.2 pounds (six kilograms) of plastic waste in its stomach.

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".

WWF-Indonesia posted disturbing photos of the beached whale on social media.

Other plastic waste found in the sperm whale's stomach included plastic bags, plastic bottles, flip-flops and a nylon sack.

Rescuers from Wakatobi National Park found the rotting carcass of the 9.5-metre sperm whale on Monday in Southeast Sulawesi after hearing villagers had surrounded the dead whale and were butchering the rotting carcass.

She said it was not possible to determine if the plastic had caused the whale's death because of the animal's advanced state of decay.

The cause of the death was still unknown and the carcass was to be buried on Tuesday without a necropsy (an animal autopsy) because of its decayed condition.

Indonesia has one of the largest plastic pollution problems in the world. Two other whales - at least that we know of - this year have also washed ashore dead with their guts full of rubbish.

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Five Asian nations - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand - account for up to 60 per cent of plastic waste leaking into oceans, said a 2015 report by the environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.

According to a study published past year, researchers found that, by 2015, over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic had been produced by humans since the 1950s.

Last year, the Indonesian government announced it will pledge $1 billion a year toward reducing marine waste by 70 percent by 2025.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia's coordinating minister for maritime affairs, told the AP that he sees plastic waste as a "common enemy".

Pandjaitan has pushed the government to take tougher action on plastic to help protect our oceans.

'It is possible that many other marine animals are also contaminated with plastic waste and this is very risky for our lives'.

It plans to boost recycling services, curb the use of plastic bags, launch cleanup campaigns and raise public awareness.

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