Dead whale had 1,000 plastic pieces in stomach
Mammal washed up in Indonesia also had 115 plastic cups flip flops and plastic bottles inside
A stranded whale with plastic in his belly is seen in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photograph: Kartika Sumolang /via Reuters
A sperm whale found dead in a national park in Indonesia had nearly six kilogrammes of plastic waste, including 115 cups, in its stomach, park officials said on Tuesday.
The 9.5-metre whale was found in waters near Kapota Island, part of the Wakatobi National Park, south east of Sulawesi, the park said in a statement.
Wakatobi National Park chief Heri Santoso said rescuers found the rotting carcass of the sperm whale on Monday near Kapota waters .
Mr Santoso said the mammal was male and the rubbish in its stomach was identified as 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two flip-flops, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 other plastic pieces.
The cause of the death was still unknown and the carcass was to be buried on Tuesday without a necropsy because of its decayed condition. Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia, said: “Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful.”
The park is famous among divers for its large area of reefs and diverse marine life including rays and whales.
In June, the death of a pilot whale in Thailand with 80 pieces of plastic rubbish in its stomach garnered headlines locally, but drew more attention outside the country.
Five Asian nations -- China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand -- account for up to 60 percent of plastic waste leaking into oceans, said a 2015 report by the environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.
Indonesia, ranked second behind China in the 2015 study of mismanaged plastic waste from populations living near coastal areas in 192 countries, has pledged $1 billion a year to reduce marine plastic debris by 70 percent by 2025.
Wakatobi park planned to bury the whale carcass at high tide on Tuesday, and the remains would be used for study purposes by the local marine academy. –Reuters/PA