Disposable cups, bottles, bags and even rubber flip-flops. They look like the remains of a beach party, but it is the contents of the stomach of a dead sperm whale that has arrived on the coast of Indonesia, one of the countries with the highest rates of marine pollution in the world.
The corpse has appeared off the coast of the Wakatobi National Park, in the province of Sulawesi. The park’s environmental technicians and scientists from the World Wildlife Fund went to the site after they were alerted that local fishermen had begun to clear the animal.
When they examined the sperm whale’s stomach 9.5 meters found a mass of almost six kilos of plastic composed of more than a thousand pieces among which there were 115 disposable cups, 25 bottles and two beach sandals.
The advanced state of decomposition of the cadaver has prevented to determine with precision the causes of the death of the sperm whale, but the six kilos of its stomach is not a good reference.
The whales are not able to digest the plastic or to expel it, and the accumulation of residues of this material ends up causing jams in the digestive system that degenerate into deadly infections. Last April appeared a dead sperm whale off the coast of Murcia. It had 29 kilos of plastic in its stomach that caused peritonitis.
Indonesia is an archipelago where more than 260 million people live. The island country is the second most plastic waste generated in the world immediately after China. No less than 3.2 million tons of which 1.29 end in the ocean. The Minister of Maritime Affairs of the country has taken advantage of the discovery of the whale to ask his government to take measures to reduce the dumping of plastics and protect the sea surrounding the archipelago. [via The Guardian ]