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ENVIRONMENT | The plastic problem

Dead sperm whale had ingested '6kg of plastic'


Reuters
News agency

Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 12:45 PM - A sperm whale found dead in a national park in Indonesia had nearly six kilogrammes (13.2 lbs) of plastic waste, including 115 cups, in its stomach, park officials said on Tuesday.

The 9.5-metre (31.17 ft) whale was found in waters near Kapota Island, part of the Wakatobi National Park, south east of Sulawesi, the park said in a statement.

(REPORT: 90 per cent of Canada's plastic isn't recycled)

The park is famous among divers for its large area of reefs and diverse marine life including rays and whales. The cause of death was not known, but park officials found plastic bottles, bags, sandals, and a sack with more than 1,000 pieces of string in the whale's stomach.

In June, the death of a pilot whale in Thailand with 80 pieces of plastic rubbish in its stomach garnered headlines locally, but drew more attention outside the country.

PLASTIC IN OCEANS A GROWING CONCERN

A study published in December 2014 by U.S. and U.K. researchers suggested there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes currently swirling in the world's oceans.

The largest source of plastic was from discarded fishing nets, but a heavy presence of plastic bags, toys and bottles was discovered as well.

(RELATED: You CAN make a difference | Here's how to reduce your plastic waste)

Smaller pieces appear to be getting eaten by fish and travelling up the food chain.

The study only measured plastic found floating at the top of the ocean, and not the trash littering the seabed.

With files from Cheryl Santa Maria

VIDEO: OUR PLASTIC PROBLEM IS 'DISGUSTING AND DISGRACEFUL'



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