Enormous dead whale washes up on Indonesian beach with 115 plastic cups and 25 plastic bags in its stomach
The cause of the sperm whale's death remains unknown as the carcass was buried without a necrop on Tuesday.
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A staggering 13lbs of plastic waste was found in the stomach of a dead whale that washed ashore in eastern Indonesia. The garbage included 115 plastic drinking cups and two flip-flops, Daily Mail reports.
According to Wakatobi National Park chief Heri Santoso, the rotting carcass of the 31-foot male sperm whale was found by rescuers on Monday near Kapota waters in Southeast Sulawesi province.
Four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two flip-flops, a nylon sack, 115 plastic cups, and over 1,000 other plastic pieces were found in its stomach. A necropsy of the carcass, which was to be buried on Tuesday, was not possible due to its decayed condition. That said, the cause of death is still unknown.
A marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia, Dwi Suprapti, said: "Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful."
According to a study published in the journal Science in January, Indonesia is the world's second largest plastic polluter after China. The study states that over 1.29 million tons of mismanaged plastic waste out of a total of 3.2 million tons produced each year in the country ends up in the ocean.
The whale's discovery has spurred the government to take tougher measures to protect the ocean, according to Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia's coordinating minister of maritime affairs, who said that such incidents should raise public awareness about the need to reduce the use of plastic.
"I'm so sad to hear this," said Pandjaitan."It is possible that many other marine animals are also contaminated with plastic waste and this is very dangerous for our lives."
According to him, the government is urging shops not to provide plastic bags for customers and encouraging educators to teach about the problem in schools nationwide. The government's target is to reduce plastic use by 70 percent by 2025, he said. Speaking to AP, Pandjaitan said: "This big ambition can be achieved if people learn to understand that plastic waste is a common enemy."