Dead whale had nearly 6kg of plastic in stomach

Workers collecting plastic items and rubbish, including a sack with more than 1,000 pieces of string, from the stomach of a sperm whale found dead in an Indonesia national park.
Workers collecting plastic items and rubbish, including a sack with more than 1,000 pieces of string, from the stomach of a sperm whale found dead in an Indonesia national park.PHOTO: REUTERS
Workers collecting plastic items and rubbish, including a sack with more than 1,000 pieces of string, from the stomach of a sperm whale found dead in an Indonesia national park.
Workers collecting plastic items and rubbish, including a sack with more than 1,000 pieces of string, from the stomach of a sperm whale found dead in an Indonesia national park.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA • A sperm whale found dead in a national park in Indonesia had nearly 6kg of plastic waste, including 115 cups, in its stomach, park officials have said.

The 9.5m whale was found in waters near Kapota Island, part of the Wakatobi National Park south-east of Sulawesi, the park said in a statement.

The park is famous among divers for its large area of reefs and diverse marine life including rays and whales.

The cause of death was not known, but park officials said yesterday they found plastic bottles, bags, sandals and a sack with more than 1,000 pieces of string in the whale's stomach.

In June, the death of a pilot whale in Thailand with 80 pieces of plastic rubbish in its stomach garnered headlines locally, but drew even more attention outside the country.

Five Asian nations - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam - account for up to 60 per cent of plastic waste leaking into oceans, said a 2015 report by the environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Centre 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 US$1 billion (S$1.37 billion) a year to reduce marine plastic debris by 70 per cent by 2025.

 

Wakatobi park planned to bury the whale carcass at high tide yesterday, and the remains would be used for study purposes by the local marine academy.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2018, with the headline 'Dead whale had nearly 6kg of plastic in stomach'. Print Edition | Subscribe