Philippines: Greenpeace unfurls ‘beached’ plastic whale to raise awareness
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Philippines: Greenpeace unfurls ‘beached’ plastic whale to raise awareness

GREENPEACE Philippines has installed a giant whale artwork made entirely out of plastic at the Sea Side Beach Resort in Naic, Civate.

“Listen to the dead whale’s wake-up call, look closer and see what plastic pollution does to the ocean,” Greenpeace Philippines posted in its Facebook page.

“We hope that this installation encourages the public to take action and #RefusePlastic. Let us tell Asean Countries to end the scourge of plastics,” it said providing the link to a petition. The installation is part of Greenpeace’s #RefusePlastic campaign.

As host to this year’s Asean forum, environmentalists are urging the Philippines to take leadership on addressing plastic pollution.

Greenpeace this week expressed concern about President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to replace environment minister Regina Lopez with ex-army general Roy Cimatu, questioning whether Cimatu would continue with meaningful environmental reform.

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“We are confident that Secretary Cimatu shall faithfully serve the interest of the country and the Filipino people in his capacity as the new Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary,” Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Monday.


Residents walk past a whale-shaped art installation that is made of plastic and trash made by environmental activist group Greenpeace Philippines, lying along the shore in Naic, Cavite in the Philippines May 12, 2017. Source: Reuters / Erik De Castro

In December last year, a sperm whale washed up on a beach in Samal, Philippines, which was found to have plastic, fishnet, wood and steel wire inside its stomach which lead to its death.

At that time, cetacean expert Darrell Dean Blatchley said, “Among the 53 whales and dolphins recovered in the last seven years in Davao Gulf, only four died due to natural causes.”

“The rest of them died because of plastic waste, were caught by nets or killed through dynamite fishing or were unable to feed in the sea.”

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“A majority of them died because of humans,” he said.

The world’s oceans are filled with roughly 250 million tonnes of plastic, with an additional eight million tonnes of plastic dumped into the seas each year.

According to a study released by the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, just five countries – China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines – are accountable for 60 percent of this waste.

Asean countries are some of the primary sources of marine plastics globally due to their long coastlines and high rates of plastic usage.

The plastic whale display will be shown until Sunday May 14.