August 15, 2018

Dead whale in Thailand had 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach

04 June 2018, 05:13 | Ross Houston

Image Plastic bags taken from the whale's stomach are piled together

The whale swallowed 80 plastic bags

A team of rescuers deployed buoys to keep the mammal from slipping into the water and drowning as veterinarians tended to it.

A whale has died in southern Thailand after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags, an official said. The autopsy found at least eight kg of plastic in the whale's stomach.

According to Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the marine and coastal resources department, the male pilot whale probably thought the bags were edible, as they slightly resemble a squid, a main source of pilot whale's diet.

Veterinarian Watchara Sakornwimon told Euronews she had "never seen a lot of plastic in a whale's stomach like this".

However, the efforts were unsuccessful with the animal regurgitating five plastic bags before passing away on Friday.

The country is one of the world's largest consumers of plastic bags.

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The pilot whale wasn't the only recent casualty of ocean pollution; in April, a 33-foot sperm whale found dead on a Spanish beach had more than 60 lb of garbage in its digestive system.

The pilot whale was barely alive when it was found by rescuers in a canal near Thailand's border with Malaysia.

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.

The Thai government last month said it was considering a levy on disposable plastic shopping bags.

A tragedy in Thailand is serving as a reminder of the waste littering the world's oceans. "We need to take action now".

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