Dead whale found with 13 pounds of plastic in its stomach

A dead whale found in Indonesia this week reportedly had 13 pounds of plastic waste in its stomach.

Researchers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and conservationists at Wakatobi National Park discovered a large mass of plastic inside the whale, including 115 plastic cups, 25 plastic bags and 2 flip-flops, according to The Associated Press.

Rescuers in the park found the 31-foot sperm whale washed up on the beach on Monday.

Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia, told the AP that researchers are not able to determine if the plastic caused the whale’s death. 

"Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful," Suprapti said.


The whale’s discovery comes amid heightened global concern about plastic pollution and its effects on marine life. Earlier this year, a pilot whale with 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach died in Thailand after a five-day rescue effort.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, an Indonesian official in charge of maritime affairs, told the AP that the country’s government is working to cut down on plastic use by 70 percent over the next 7 years.

"It is possible that many other marine animals are also contaminated with plastic waste and this is very dangerous for our lives,” Pandjaitan said. "This big ambition can be achieved if people learn to understand that plastic waste is a common enemy.”

Several cities across the U.S. have taken steps to cut down on plastic use through bans on single-use straws or charging customers for plastic bags.