JAKARTA INDONESIA. A team from Wakatobi National Park found about 6kg of garbage inside the stomach of a dead whale that had beached on Kapota Island, Southeast Sulawesi.
The team, assisted by researchers from the Academy of Marine and Fisheries Community in Wakatobi, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and locals, identified the animal as a sperm whale.
The carcass was 9.5m long and 4.37m wide, according to a release from the Environment and Forestry Ministry made available on Tuesday (Nov 20).
The head of the park, Heri Santoso, said that when the 31ft sperm whale was found late on Monday in Wakatobi National Park in the country’s Sulawesi province, it had already begun to decompose.
A tweet from the WWF explained that due to its condition, the team could not confirm whether the garbage had been the cause of the whale’s death.
The body will be buried on Tuesday on Kolowawa Beach in North Kapota village, he said.
Researchers opened the animal’s stomach and found 115 plastic cups (750g), 19 hard plastic pieces (140g), four plastic bottles (150g), 25 plastic bags (260g), six wood splinters (740g), two rubber sandals (270g), one nylon sack (200g) and more than 1,000 pieces of plastic rope (3,260g).
5,9 kg sampah plastik ditemukan di dlm perut paus malang ini! Sampah plastik yaitu: plastik keras (19 pcs, 140 gr), botol plastik (4 pcs, 150 gr), kantong plastik (25 pcs, 260 gr), sandal jepit (2 pcs, 270 gr), didominasi o/ tali rafia (3,26 kg) & gelas plastik (115 pcs, 750 gr). pic.twitter.com/ZFWZgkbnzu
— WWF-Indonesia (@WWF_ID) November 19, 2018
According to the Facebook page: “soft plastic, hard plastic, plastic bags, plastic cups, bottled drinks, sandals and raffia” were among the items that spilled out of the stomach when it was cut.
“Our throwaway culture has turned whales’ guts into dustbins for our plastic waste. And the global plastic contamination doesn’t end there – this material is already in the food we eat, the water we drink, and inevitably in our bodies too. It’s clear that we can’t go on like this.
“If we want to stop this slow-motion environmental disaster unfolding before our eyes, we need to immediately start cutting the amount of throwaway plastic we produce.”
The source of the problem is at the manufacturing stage, calling on big food companies to reduce single-use plastic out of their production lines.
Research suggests there are more than five trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, which poses a severe threat to marine wildlife.
Recent studies have found the plastic being swallowed by marine animals is making its way back into the human food chain, with plastic particles being found in human bodies after eating fish.