Plastic in dead whale’s belly

A SPERM whale has been found dead in Indonesia (印尼) with 115 plastic cups and 25 plastic bags in its stomach, raising concern among environmentalists and throwing the spotlight on the country’s rubbish problem.
The items were part of nearly six kilograms of plastic waste discovered in the 9.5-metre carcass when it washed ashore in Wakatobi National Park. Other debris included flip-fl ops, ripped tarpaulins, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 other assorted pieces of plastic. Conservation group WWF Indonesia said its staff also found four plastic bottles and 3.26kg of raffia rope.
The exact cause of the whale’s death may never be determined because of the animal’s advanced state of decay, but there are signs that “plastic waste might have triggered it”, WWF Indonesia marine species conservation coordinator Dwi Suprapti said. “The facts that we see are truly awful.”
Wakatobi district, a picturesque collection of four main islands surrounded by a marine reserve, has urged Indonesia’s central government to help tackle the problem of marine debris.
Indonesia is the world’s second-biggest contributor to marine debris after China, and a colossal 1.29 million tonnes is estimated to be produced annually.
The problem has grown so bad that Indonesian officials declared a “garbage emergency” last year. The archipelago has pledged to reduce marine plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 29 November 2018)

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