Plastic Junk found in Dead Whale stomach

Indonesian authorities have discovered 115 cups, 2 flip-flops and much, much more in a dead whale.

A dead whale that washed ashore had a large lump of plastic waste in its stomach, including drinking cups and flip-flops, a park official said Tuesday. This has caused concern among environmentalists and government officials in one of the world’s largest plastic polluting countries.

The 9.5 meter(roughly 31 feet) long sperm whale was discovered on Nov. 19 by rescuers from Wakatobi National Park in Southeast Sulawesi province. They were alerted to the scene after receiving a report from environmentalists that villagers had surrounded the dead whale and were beginning to butcher the rotting carcass.

Santoso said that upon inspection from wildlife conservation group WWF and the park’s conservation academy, Approximately 13 pounds of plastic waste in the whale’s stomach containing 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, 2 flip-flops, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 other assorted pieces of plastic were found.

This tragic incident indicates just how polluted Earth’s oceans are, the amount of plastic in animal’s stomach might have significantly contributed to its ultimate death.

Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful,” said Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia. She said the animal’s advanced state of decay made it hard to determine whether the plastic had caused the whale’s death.

Indonesia, population of 260 million is the second-largest plastic polluter after China. It produces 3.2 million tons of mismanaged plastic waste a year, of which 1.29 million tons ends up in the ocean, according to a study published in the journal Science.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister of maritime affairs, who recently has campaigned for less use of plastic said the whale’s discovery should raise public awareness about the need to reduce plastic use. He also said the government is making efforts to reduce the use of plastic, including urging shops not to provide plastic bags for customers and instructing about the issue in schools across the country to meet a government target of diminishing plastic use by 70 percent by 2025.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, “This enormous ambition can be accomplished if individuals learn to understand that plastic waste is a common enemy”.