Dead whale in Philippines had 40kg of plastic in stomach

Last Updated: Mar 19 2019 15:40
Reading time: 1 min, 7 secs

A dead whale that washed up in the Philippines had 40kg (88lbs) of plastic bags inside its stomach, researchers have said.

Environmental groups have tagged the Philippines as one of the world's biggest ocean polluters due to its reliance on single-use plastic.

That sort of pollution, which is also widespread in other Southeast Asian nations, regularly kills wildlife like whales and turtles that ingest the waste.

In a Facebook post, the museum said the animal was filled with "the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale".

There were 16 rice sacks in its stomach, as well as "multiple shopping bags".

The animal died from starvation and was unable to eat because of the trash filling its stomach, said Darrell Blatchley, director of D' Bone Collector Museum Inc., which helped conduct the examination.

"It's very disgusting and heart-breaking," he told AFP. "We've done necropsies on 61 dolphins and whales in the last ten years and this is one of the biggest (amounts of plastic) we've seen."

The Philippines has strict laws on garbage disposal but environmentalists say these are poorly implemented.

The problem also plagues the archipelago's neighbours, with a sperm whale dying in Indonesia last year with nearly six kilograms of plastic waste discovered in its stomach.

In Thailand, a whale also died last year after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags.