A dead whale with nearly 100 pounds of plastic in its stomach washed up ashore in the Philippines, raising concerns from environmental activists. They found its stomach was packed with plastic bags - 16 rice sacks, four banana-plantation-style bags and some shopping bags, according to a Facebook post from the museum.
The Cuvier's beaked whale was found dead in the Compostela Valley earlier in March; an autopsy was carried out by staff from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Fishery Management Regulatory Division, led by marine biologist Darrell Blatchley, who owns D'Bone Collector Museum, and Dr Elaine Belvis where the shocking discovery was made.
Cetaceans, Blatchley explained, don't drink water directly from the ocean but take it from the food they consume.
"I was not prepared for the amount of plastic", Blatchley said.
He noted that among the plastic bags were 16 rice sacks - similar to potato sacks - and plastic bags from local Philippine grocery chains, Gaisano Capital and Gaisano Grocery Outlet. Blatchley said that the team will continue to sift through the rubbish pulled from the whale's insides to get a full list of the items that clogged up its stomach. "It was so big; the plastic was beginning calcification".
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"If we keep going this way, it will be more uncommon to see an animal die of natural causes than it is to see an animal die of plastic", he said.
"If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die", marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat told Agence France-Presse at the time, adding that the plastic probably prevented the whale from digesting food.
"Hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins, seals and turtles are killed by ocean plastic pollution every year, including single-use plastics and abandoned plastic gear from the fishing industry", he told CNN.
A 2015 report by environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment said that more than 50 percent of plastic that ends up in our oceans comes from five countries: Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
"This can not continue", he said. "The Philippines needs to change from the children up or nothing will be left", he shared.