ANOTHER dead whale - is this a new normal?

The discovery of a dead 31ft sperm whale with 6kgs of plastic in its stomach off the coast of Indonesia is further indication of the grave future our oceans and aquatic wildlife face as a result of marine plastic pollution.

Plastic items found inside the deceased mammal included '115 coffee cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags and two flip-flops'.

It's not the first death attributed to plastic waste - and sadly, it won't be the last. But the quantity of plastic items point to a terrifying 'new normal' confronting our marine environment. 

'The sad demise of a sperm whale is another warning about plastic pollution of the oceans,' Boomerang Alliance director Jeff Angel said today.

'No doubt there are many other whales and marine life we don't see dying in the oceans from plastic. We now know we have a serious problem and must act with strong responses from government, business and the community to end this pollution.'

Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia, said a cause couldn't be delivered. But the contents of the animal's stomach speak for itself.

Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful,” she said.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 260 million people, is the world’s second-largest plastic polluter after China, according to a study published in the journal Science in January. It produces 3.2 million tons of mismanaged plastic waste a year, of which 1.29m tons ends up in the ocean, the study said.

The nation is aiming to reduce single-use plastic consumption by 2025. 


Photo: BBC