A 33-foot sperm whale carcass surfaced near a lighthouse in Cabo de Palos on Spain’s southeastern coast in February. Washington Post reported that a necropsy revealed the whale had “trash bags, polypropylene sacks, ropes, net segments and a drum, among other things,” located in the stomach and intestines.
Local authorities report that the whale animal died due to peritonitis, inflammation of the abdominal lining, due to blockage from the trash.
The picture, shared by a local environmental group, shows a severely underweight sperm whale. Reports place the animal’s weight at 14,300 pounds. Adult sperm whales are supposed to weight between 77,000 and 130,000 lbs.
Sperm whales reside in the ocean at around 2,000 feet below sea level and feed off of large squid, sharks, and fish. This certainly isn’t the first time. For decades, whales and other marine life have been washing ashore full of plastic.
The presence of plastic in the ocean and oceans is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of wildlife throughout the world, as many animals are trapped in the trash or ingest large quantities of plastics that end up causing their death.” – Consuelo Rosauro, Murcia’s general director of environment
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published a study stating that more than 88 percent of the Earth’s ocean surface is polluted with plastic debris.
More than 30 sperm whales were found washed up on the beaches of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and Germany in 2016 according to National Geographic. Plastic waste, including fishing nets, pieces of a plastic bucket, and a plastic car engine cover were among the remains, found inside the whales’ stomachs.
A 2014 study states that there were 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. A study published last year found that 83 percent of samples of ocean water from more than a dozen nations were contaminated with plastic fibers. If that wasn’t scary enough, the amount of plastic in world’s oceans is expected to triple within a decade according to a new UK government report called the “Foresight Future of the Sea.”