The shores of a beach in the Philippines became the graveyard for a young whale. It died here but what killed it was 40 kilos of plastic previously ingested: 16 bags of rice, a plastic tarp used in banana plantations and several grocery shopping bags.
The whale was found on a Friday night by local authorities, stranded on the shores of the sea of the Municipality of Mabini. With the help of some fishermen, they tried to return it to the sea, but it was already dying, so it returned to shore. “It was unable to swim alone. It was weak,” Fatma Idris told AFP. Idris, director of the regional fisheries office said that “the animal was dehydrated and on the second day, it was fighting to stay alive while vomiting blood.”
After its death, the 4.7-meter-long whale was subjected to an autopsy conducted by the Office of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources team, which revealed the horrific results. They found the largest amount of plastic ever seen inside a whale, a being that, like many other species, confuses its food with plastic when trying to feed. One of the doctors who proceeded with the autopsy, Dr. Blatchley, comments that he has been examining dead cetaceans for 10 years and that the most common cause of death is the intake of plastic waste.
HOW DID THE WHALE DIE?
Of hunger. According to Blatchley, it died with a stomach full of garbage that prevented it from nurturing, “it is disgusting, it breaks the heart.”
The Philippines is targeted by environmental defenders who blame it for being one of the most polluting countries in the oceans. Recently, a report was published on the worrying quantities of single-use plastic objects in that country, which reaches 6,000,000 bags per year.
We hear about these cases again and again. It was only a few months ago that a dead sperm whale was found on the shores of an Indonesian beach. On this occasion there were 6 kilos of plastic garbage it had ingested, 115 plastic cups contributed to his death.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Aim to reduce the consumption of all types of plastics in your life. Always carry a water thermos with you, so you avoid buying plastic bottles, when you shop at the supermarket carry your own reusable bags or buy one. Also, DO NOT use plastics that you do not need such as straws, plastic cups, plastic cutlery. While the big corporations sell this type of polluting plastic products and killers, it is entirely your decision to buy them or not, use them or not.
The Philippines are in the spotlight, but in reality all countries and their citizens have a responsibility that we are failing to fulfill.
The next time you go to buy or use something plastic, keep in mind that, you are either contributing to horrible deaths like the one suffered by this whale, or you may be saving it if you chose to avoid them.
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