Stomach Of Dead Whale Contained 'Nothing But Nonstop Plastic'

Mary Gay Blatchley

"I was not prepared for the amount of plastic", the museum's founder and president, Darrell Blatchley, told broadcaster CNN.

"In Davao Gulf alone, three whales and a dolphin have been found dead with plastic in their stomach this year, and we are just about to close the first quarter of 2019".

An autopsy on a whale that was found dead on a beach in Hualien last Friday revealed a large amount of plastic in its stomach and it was also found to be pregnant, two ocean conservation organizations said Wednesday.

"If we keep going this way, it will be more uncommon to see an animal die of natural causes than it is to see an animal die of plastic", he said.

The locals quickly called environmental officials, who arrived at noon, when the whale had already died.

Biologist Darrell Blatchley had the gruesome task of extracting the shopping bags and rice sacks that left the stricken 15ft Cuvier's beaked whale vomiting blood in the last moments of its life. Including 16 rice sacks.

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The use of throwaway plastic is a particular problem in some South East Asian countries, including the Philippines.

"Efforts must be stepped up worldwide to reduce plastics pollution in our oceans or this kind of tragedy may become far more common in the future", said Mark Simmonds, senior marine scientist at Humane Society International.

A 2017 report by Ocean Conservancy stated that China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam have been dumping more plastic into the ocean than the rest of the world combined.

Blatchley explained that cetaceans, which are aquatic mammals such as whales or dolphins, don't drink water from the ocean but rather get access to fresh water from the food they consume.

In June previous year, a pilot whale died in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags.

Abigail Aguilar, campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines, said today: "The frequency on which marine animals are dying due to plastic ingestion is alarming". A month later, a pilot whale swallowed 17 pounds of plastic bags in Thai waters.

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