A dead whale washed up on the shores of Greece and was found to have 33 pounds of plastic in their stomach.
The cuvier’s beaked whale washed up on Kremasti beach in Rhodes at the end of April. The magnificent 16-food creature likely died a traumatizing and painful death due to the mounds of plastic in the stomach.
ARION, a charity organization rushed to try to assess the situation and found no external injuries on the animal, besides a few natural abrasions. In their statement, they said that when the animal was taken for an autopsy, they discovered how the whale had died.
The CEO and co-founder of ARION, Dr. Aimilia Drougas told Newsweek that the necropsy found “huge amounts of plastic” inside the whale’s stomach.
Drougas said, “This has caused the marine mammal suffering from cachexia and a painful death. Advanced laboratory tests of tissue and other organ samples are on the way and they will be announced as soon as we get the medical report.”
Cuvier’s beaked whales are the most widespread beaked whales. They usually live in deep offshore waters in nearly all of the oceans in the world. Much of the plastic pollution in the ocean falls to the bottom, which is dangerous for species like the Cuvier’s beaked whales who live in the deep oceans.
Unfortunately, this is far from the first time that a whale has washed up dead with an unspeakable amount of plastic in its stomach. A Cuvier beaked whale washed ashore in the Philippines with over 40 kilos of plastic found in its stomach in 2019. They found 16 rice sacks, four banana plantation-style bags, and various shopping bags in the animal’s stomach. In 2020, a sperm whale washed ashore with 220 pounds of trash in its stomach. Inside the whale, they found nets, cups, bags, ropes, packing straps, tubing, and other debris.
These magnificent creatures are in extreme danger from the plastic pollution in the ocean. Marine mammals are vital to marine ecosystems and they are needed for a healthy, functioning environment underwater. More and more marine mammals are beaching from sometimes unknown causes. Our current practices are putting these marine animals’ lives in danger. Plastic pollution is not only a threat to them, but also us.
Thankfully, it seems like many people are finally seeing the horrible impact plastic has on the environment and public health. California recently became the first state to make a plan to combat microplastics while researchers at Michigan Tech found a way to turn plastic waste into protein powder. Starbucks is even moving away from single-use plastic!
Microplastics have been found everywhere, from Mount Everest to the depths of the oceans, and it’s even been found in the placentas of pregnant women. It’s more important now than ever to move away from single-use plastic. Not only is it horrible for the environment, but now studies like this are revealing how devastating they can be for human cells. Through food, the air, and other ways, we are constantly consuming tiny plastic particles.
There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter, and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. Some numerous simple actions and switches can help cut plastic out of our lives including making your cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!
Please also sign this petition to join the fight against plastic pollution!
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 9 May 2022. Lead Image Source : Thongden Studio/Shutterstock.
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