A juvenile sperm whale washed up on the shore of a beach in Southern Spain. Scientists found that it had swallowed a massive amount of plastic.
When they did an autopsy of the whale, they found out that there was a mixture of waste and plastic in its stomach—64 pounds of it.
The necropsy report came back with several kinds of waste such as plastic bags, pieces of net, and plastic water containers that were lodged in its gut which caused an abdominal infection.
The abdominal infection called peritonitis made it difficult for the whale to digest the waste leading to a rupture in its digestive system.
This is not the first time that a whale was found with plastic in its stomach. In February of 2017, a Cuvier’s beaked whale was found with more than 30 plastic bags and other plastic wastes in its belly.
These incidents of whales dying due to ingesting plastics is a grim reminder that if there is nothing done to fix the ongoing waste disposal problem, we will see more deaths like these. A rough estimate of 150 million tons of plastic wastes are already floating in our oceans and according to the World Economic Forum, an additional eight million tons of plastic enters the water each year.
It isn’t just whales who are suffering from this. Several other oceanic animals have been affected by improper disposal of wastes and getting entangled in fishing nets.
As more and more plastic is being used globally, experts have warned that if there is nothing done to regulate the use of plastic, there will be more plastic than sea life in oceans by 2050.