Stomach of Dead Whale Contained “Nothing But Plastic”

March 19, 2019 at 1:09 pm

This whale had literally nothing but plastic in its gut, including 88 pounds of compacted grocery bags

A young Cuvier’s beaked whale was found washed up in the Philippines Friday, weak and vomiting blood.

Within a few hours it was dead.

When he performed the necropsy, marine biologist Darrell Blatchley wasnt surprised to learn the whale’s killer was plastic. It is the usual suspect these days.

But he was surprised by how densely packed the plastic was… so much so that there wasn’t room for any food in the whale’s stomach.

“It was full of plastic — nothing but nonstop plastic,” Blatchley told NPR. “It was compact to the point that its stomach was literally as hard as a baseball.”

“That means that this animal has been suffering not for days or weeks but for months or even a year or more,” he added.

The majority of the 88 pounds of plastic he found was plastic bags including shopping bags (from grocery chains in the Philippines), rice sacks and banana plantation sacks.

Blatchley and his team work with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and to assist in rescue and recovery of marine animals in the Philippines.

“Within the last 10 years, we have recovered 61 whales and dolphins just within the Davao Gulf,” he said. “Of them, 57 have died due to man — whether they ingested plastic or fishing nets or other waste, or gotten caught in pollution.”

Of the 9 million tons of plastic tha end up in the ocean each year,  more than half  comes from just five countries — China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

“If we keep going this way, it will be more uncommon to see an animal die of natural causes than it is to see an animal die of plastic,” he said.