Indonesia: Beached whale carcass found with 6 kgs of plastic in stomach
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Indonesia: Beached whale carcass found with 6 kgs of plastic in stomach

OVER a thousand pieces of plastic rope, hundreds of disposable cups, and two pairs of rubber sandals were among nearly six kilogrammes of man-made items discovered in a whale found dead in an Indonesian national park recently.

A team from the Wakatobi National Park found the garbage inside the stomach of the whale which was beached on Kapota Island, Southeast Sulawesi, the Jakarta Post reported.

With the help of the Academy of Marine and Fisheries Community in Wakatobi, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and locals, the team identified the animal as a sperm whale.

SEE ALSO: Whale dies in Thailand after ingesting more than 80 plastic bags 

The large mammal measured 9.5 meters in length and 4.37 wide, the Environment and Forestry Ministry said on Tuesday.

Heri Santoso, the head of Wakatobi National Park, said the team found the whale on Sunday but the carcass was already decomposed.

After opening the animal’s stomach, researchers found a total of 115 cups (750 grams) 19 hard plastic pieces (140 grams), four plastic bottles (150 grams), 25 plastic bags (260 grams), six wood splinters (740 grams), two rubber sandals (270 grams), one nylon sack (200 grams) and more than 1,000 pieces of plastic rope (3,260 grams).

In total, the weight of the items found was 100 grams shy of six kilogrammes.


Plastic items from a whale’s belly are seen in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, Nov 19, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Source: Reuters

However, the cause of death was currently unknown.

The Wakatobi National Park is a hotspot for recreational divers owing to its reefs and diverse marine life including rays and whales.

The discovery of the dead sperm whale laden with plastic comes after another death of a pilot whale in Thailand, which was found with 80 pieces of plastic rubbish in its stomach. The incident in June received more attention outside the country.

SEE ALSO: Japan slaughters 122 pregnant whales for ‘scientific research’ 

A 2015 report by the environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment five Asian nations said — China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand — account for up to 60 percent of plastic waste leaking into oceans.

Ranked second behind China in the 2015 study of mismanaged plastic waste from populations living near coastal areas in 192 countries, Indonesia has pledged US$1 billion a year to reduce marine plastic debris by 70 percent by 2025.

The park said the whale was buried during high tide on Tuesday, and the remains would be used for study purposes by the local marine academy.

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