Young Sperm Whale Found Dead on Beach in Spain
General Directorate of Natural Environment.
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and environment (region of Murcia, Spain).
We’ve been preaching about plastic pollution – and its sometimes deadly consequences. It saddens us to report that ocean plastic played a large role in the recent death of a 35-foot sperm whale that washed ashore in southern Spain.
A post-mortem on this magnificent sea creature showed its stomach contained about 65 pounds of various plastics, including plastic bags, fragments of nets and ropes, and a metal gas can – eek!
According to a report in the UK’s Independent newspaper, experts from the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Center concluded the young male whale died because his digestive system became clogged and food could not pass through the plastics it had fed on over time. A peritonitis infection of the abdomen was the official cause of death.
“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 department for Spain’s Murcia region.
“The region of Murcia is no stranger to this problem, which we must tackle through clean-up actions and, above all, citizen awareness.”
Widespread Plastic Problem
Amen, sister. COAST shares your mission. The death of this whale drives home the point we’ve been trying to make – plastics are polluting our oceans and killing our sea dwellers.
A recent report indicates the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is set to triple within a decade. That’s unfathomable because there is already a gigantic floating mass of plastics twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean. In shockingly round numbers that mass is roughly 540,000 square miles!
This cannot continue. We must reverse this tragic trend and restore our habitats to a state that allows whales, man and other animals to safely enjoy the sea for generations to come.
For more on this sad tale of the whale, read the story that recently ran in the Independent.
#MedioAmbiente lanza una #campaña para concienciar sobre el peligro de las #basurasmarinas para la #Fauna Ejemplo: La necropsia de un #Cachalote varado 🐋 detectó en su aparato digestivo 29 kg de basura 😢#StopBasurasMarinas #Concienciación ♻️+inf: https://t.co/mLjhNreLlx pic.twitter.com/dqejUXFkWS— EspaciosNaturalesMur (@EspNaturalesMur) April 4, 2018
A reason for optimism
Seems like we’re hit with wave after wave of scary news about single-use plastic pollution and our oceans, however, there is some good news to report. Our friends in Europe are seeing big results from small charges involving plastic bags and supermarkets.
Check this: There’s been an 80% drop in plastic bag usage across England since the government enacted a small charge on each plastic bag used. Time for us to bag the bags and be the change we want to see in the good old US of A.