This Young Sperm Whale Died Because We Can’t Stop Using Plastic

Sperm whales are among the largest species of whales inhabiting the earths oceans, but even at their size, they are not immune to the impact of plastic waste that makes its way into their environment.

Recently, researchers wanted to learn more about a young male sperm whale who was found dead on a beach in southeastern Spain in February, so they performed a necropsy. What they discovered when they looked inside him is heartbreaking.

According to information that was just released about his case, he had consumed 64 pounds of waste, including garbage bags, ropes, pieces of nets and a drum, among other items and most of the debris he had swallowed was plastic.

They believe his death was most likely ultimately caused by the waste, which either led to a bacterial infection, or simply blocked his digestive system.

The presence of plastics in seas and oceans is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of wildlife throughout the world, as many animals are trapped in the trash or ingest large amounts of plastics that end up causing his death. And the Region of Murcia is no stranger to this problem that we must tackle through clean-up actions and, above all, awareness of citizens,” said Environment Director Consuelo Rosauro (via Google Translate).

Sadly, this case isnt an isolated incident. Other whales have met a similarly tragic fate, while any other species in marine ecosystems are also being affected.

Still more concerning are estimates about how massive the plastic waste problem really is. Scientists recently declared that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now three times the size of France, while others have found plastic debris in the farthest depths of the ocean. Its also now believed that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea, but production is still expected to increase over the coming years.

At least in response to this tragedy, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment launched a campaign in Murcia, where the sperm whale was found, that is focused on reducing the consumption of plastics and ways to avoid letting them get into the ocean. It’s ultimately hoped stronger efforts will protect a range of species who live in the region, including multiple species of dolphins, pilot whales, fin whales and loggerhead turtles, who have become a priority for protection.

Hopefully this sperm whales tragic, and avoidable fate, will inspire more people to choose reusable alternatives to disposable items, and encourage further efforts to reduce our consumption and improve waste management and recycling programs to prevent more plastic from finding its way back into the environment in the first place.

To learn more about cleanup efforts and ways to help, check out NOAAsMarine Debris Program and the Ocean Conservancys International Coastal Cleanup.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

98 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y1 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y1 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J1 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J1 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J1 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J1 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W8 months ago

Thank you for posting.

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Sarah H
Sarah Hillabout a year ago

Why do we continue to let food companies use plastic for the containers? Food tastes so much better in glass!

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ Mabout a year ago

REVEALED: How the plastic industry KNEW 50 YEARS AGO it was causing a pollution crisis and hid it from the world. -
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5240389/Plastic-industry-hid-pollution-crisis-50-years.html

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ Mabout a year ago

tfs

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