Dead whale washed ashore with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach

A dead whale that washed up in the Philippines last week had nearly 90 pounds of plastic in its stomach, according to researchers.

Marine biologist Darrell Blatchley, the founder of natural history institution the D' Bone Collector Museum, told CNN that the amount of plastic in the beaked whale’s stomach was the most that he had ever seen and called it “disgusting.”

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"I was not prepared for the amount of plastic. 40 kilos  [88 pounds] roughly of rice sacks, grocery bags, banana plantation bags, and general plastic bags,” he said. “Sixteen rice sacks total. It was so big, the plastic was beginning calcification.”

Blatchley and other workers at the museum performed a necropsy on the whale over the weekend and shared photos of the results on Facebook.

"This whale had the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale,” Blatchley wrote. “It's disgusting.”

 

The beaked whale found last week had ingested about seven times as much plastic as a dead sperm whale found in Indonesia in November. That whale had about 13 pounds of plastic in its stomach. Earlier in 2018, a pilot whale that died following a five-day rescue effort was found to have had 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach.

The deaths come as scientists and activist groups try to bring an increased global awareness of plastic pollution and its effect on ocean life.

"Action must be taken by the government against those who continue to treat the waterways and ocean as dumpsters," Blatchley wrote.

A number of national and local governments worldwide have taken steps in recent years to reduce plastic waste through bans or taxes on single-use straws, plastic bags and utensils.