Dead whale found with 40 kilograms of plastic in its stomach

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A team of marine researchers in the Philippines found around 40kg, or 88lbs, of plastic bags in the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale that was found on the shores of Sitio Asinan at the weekend.

In a statement on its Facebook page on Monday, museum officials said they uncovered "40 kilos of plastic bags, including 16 rice sacks, four banana plantation style bags and multiple shopping bags" in the whale's stomach after conducting an autopsy. Darrell Blatchley, owner of the D'Bone Collector Museum in Davao City, attended a necropsy on the whale and called it the worst collection of plastic inside an animal he had ever seen.

Upon his arrival at the scene, Blatchley noticed that the whale showed signs of emaciation and dehydration. "We've done necropsies on 61 dolphins and whales in the past 10 years and this is one of the biggest (amounts of plastic) we've seen".

"It's very disgusting and heartbreaking", Museum Director Darrell Blatchley told AFP. Condom and plastic wastes were recovered from its stomach.

"The plastic in some areas was so compact it was nearly becoming calcified, nearly like a solid brick", said Mr. Blatchley, who has seen other marine mammal post-mortems.

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Last November, a sperm whale was discovered in Indonesia with a large plastic mass inside its stomach that included "115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two flip-flops, a nylon sack, and more than 1,000 other assorted pieces of plastic", the Associated Press reported.

"This can not continue", Blatchley said, noting the Philippines ranks as the second most plastic-polluted country in the world.

The museum is now expected to come out with a list of all the items that were recovered from inside the dead whale in an effort to further shock the Philippines government and the world community into taking concrete action. The young Cuvier's beaked whale died from gastric shock, according to biologists.

According to a report published in Science Magazine in 2015, 275 million metric tons of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons entering the ocean. "At some point their stomach fills up with trash and they can't eat real food", Regina Asmutis-Silvia, the executive director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, told National Geographic. In June a year ago, a pilot whale was found dead in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags.