A whale washed up dead with almost 40 kilograms worth of trash in its stomach

Business Insider US
Staff at D' Bone Collector Museum Inc. in Davao, Philippines, examine the contents of a dead whale's stomach.

  • A curvier's beaked whale washed up dead in the Philippines this weekend, with 40 kg of plastic waste in its stomach.
  • Scientists said it died from gastric shock, dehydration, and starvation.
  • In a Facebook post, staff at D'Bone Collector Museum called it disgusting, and that it was the most plastic they'd ever seen in a whale.
  • A 2017 report by Ocean Conservancy found that the majority of plastic waste enters the ocean from five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

A whale washed up dead in the Philippines on Saturday 16 March, with 40 kg of trash in its stomach. Scientists said the sheer amount of waste, including 16 rice sacks, 4 banana plantation style bags, and "multiple shopping bags," meant the young mammal died of "gastric shock".

The curvier's beaked whale was recovered by staff at D'Bone Collector Museum - an NGO that retrieves dead animals and preserves them - who said the full list of plastic items found in its stomach will be released in the next few days.

"This whale had the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale," they wrote in a Facebook post. "It's disgusting. Action must be taken by the government against those who continue to treat the waterways and ocean as dumpsters."

When they recovered the whale, it showed signs it had been vomiting blood before it died. There was so much plastic in its system that it couldn't get nourishment from food, and so it died from dehydration and starvation.

The Philippines has become the world's third largest source of releasing plastic rubbish into the ocean, and has one of the highest waste collection rates in Southeast Asia.

"Marine pollution arising from plastic debris and other forms of garbage choking our waterways worsen our environmental problems," said representative of Surigao del Norte Rep, Robert Ace Barbers, according to The Philippine Star.

He added that plastic pollution blocks waterways across the country and worsens natural disasters, like floods, especially during the rainy season.

A 2017 report by the nonprofit environmental advocacy group Ocean Conservancy found that the majority of plastic waste enters the ocean from five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

"These countries have recently benefited from significant increases in GDP, reduced poverty, and improved quality of life," the report says. "However, increasing economic power has also generated exploding demand for consumer products that has not yet been met with a commensurate waste-management infrastructure."

Children play on a beach covered in plastic waste in the Philippines.

Although distressing, the whale's story isn't a new one. In June last year, a pilot whale was found dead in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags.

The founder of D'Bone Collector Museum, Darrell Blatchley, told INSIDER that out of the 61 dead whales they examined over the last ten years, 57 died due to fishing nets, dynamite fishing, and plastic garbage, and four of them were pregnant.

"This cannot continue," he said. "The Philippines needs to change from the children up or nothing will be left."

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