Whale dies from eating more than 80 pieces of plastic rubbish

‘Plastic rubbish made the whale sick and unable to hunt for food’ marine officials said

Up to 80 plastic bags extracted from  a whale are seen in Songkhla, Thailand. Photograph: Reuters

Up to 80 plastic bags extracted from a whale are seen in Songkhla, Thailand. Photograph: Reuters

 

Some 80 pieces of plastic rubbish weighing 8kgs were found in the stomach of a whale that died in Thailand after a five-day effort to save it, marine officials said on Sunday.

The pilot whale was discovered on Monday in a canal in the southern province of Songkhla and received treatment from a team of veterinarians.

The whale spat out five plastic bags on Friday and later died, the Marine and Coastal Resources Department said on its website.

An autopsy found another 80 bags and other plastic items weighing 8kgs in the whale’s stomach.

Vets try to save a whale sick after swallowing up to 80 plastic bags. Photograph: Reuters
Vets try to save a whale sick after swallowing up to 80 plastic bags. Photograph: Reuters

“This plastic rubbish made the whale sick and unable to hunt for food,” the department said.

Jatuporn Buruspat, head of the department, said they planned to raise public awareness of the problem on World Oceans Day on June 8th and call for reduced use of plastic.

“We will use the whale case and invite all sectors to show their intentions on how to reduce the use of plastic in Thailand,” he told Reuters.

A handout photo showing plastic bags found in a stomach of a Pilot whale after an autopsy. Photograph: Reuters
A handout photo showing plastic bags found in a stomach of a Pilot whale after an autopsy. Photograph: Reuters

Thais use huge numbers of plastic bags but authorities have launched campaigns to try to encourage people to use fewer and to introduce reusable bags.

Globally, eight million tonnes of plastic - bottles, packaging and other waste - are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, the United Nations Environment Programme said in December. - Reuters