A dead 33-foot sperm whale washed up on a beach on the southern coast of Spain recently, and an autopsy showed it was killed by 64 pounds of plastic that had become lodged in its stomach.
Local scientists were puzzled by what had killed the whale, until doctors from the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Center performed the autopsy. They found plastic bags, a jerry can and pieces of rope and fishing nets in the whale’s stomach. They said it died because it could not expel the plastic and that blockage in the digestive system caused a fatal infection.
More than eight million tons of plastic enter the world’s ocean every year. Just last month scientists said that a mass of 79,000 pounds of plastic and trash was floating in the Pacific in an area about three times the size of France.
“The presence of plastics in seas and oceans is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of wildlife throughout the world, since many animals are trapped in the trash or ingest large amounts of plastics that end up causing their death,” said Consuelo Rosauro, director-general of the natural environment for the local government in Spain. Read more: