There is a lot of plastic in the ocean. Not only is it difficult to dispose of, but many plastics end up floating in the ocean and being consumed by marine life. A pilot whale recently washed up on a beach in Thailand, and later died from an overconsumption of plastic in its body.
Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources revealed that a pilot whale was found in a small canal in Songkhla, a southern province. The small, male pilot whale was still alive when it was found early Monday, and doctors worked to keep it alive for nearly an entire week. Eventually, the whale died after it coughed up five large plastic bags.
A necropsy of the whale revealed that its stomach contained over seventeen pounds of different plastics, including over eighty black, plastic bags. Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the marine and coastal resources department, told reporters that it’s likely the whale believed that the plastic in the water was food, a common mistake as marine food and plastics can look similar when submerged in water.
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist and lecturer at Kasetsart University, explained that a minimum of three hundred marine animals such as sea turtles and whales die each year due to consumption of plastics. Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment revealed that Thailand dumps over one million tons of garbage into the ocean yearly, and the government was working to find a better solution to eliminate the massive plastic problem.
There is so much trash in the oceans, that much of it has ended up floating in the sea together, like a large island of trash, due to the ocean currents and the plastics not having anywhere else to go. Photos of both the whale on the beach and the gruesome images of the plastic bags from its stomach have circulated on social media recently, adding more fuel to the debate for a better way to eliminate plastics from our environment.