Another dead whale has washed ashore with a stomach full of plastic.
This time, a carcass of a sperm whale was discovered in the waters near Indonesia’s Wakatobi National Park, reports the Associated Press. Park officials found a large mass of plastic inside the whale’s 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 sad discovery was made on Monday, after environmentalists told park officials that they spotted the carcass being cut apart by villagers.
“Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful,” Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia, told AP.
While the state of the whale’s decay prevents officials from determining cause of death, finding this much plastic in a wild animal is distressing, especially since Indonesia is the world’s second-largest plastic polluter after China.
The country’s government is working to address this issue, according to Indonesia’s coordinating minister of maritime affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. He told AP that the government is working to reduce plastic bag use, raising awareness about the dangers of pollution and teaching about conservation in schools.
“It is possible that many other marine animals are also contaminated with plastic waste and this is very dangerous for our lives,” Pandjaitan said, adding that the hope is to reduce Indonesia’s plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025.
According to the BBC, 22,046 lbs. of plastic trash end up in the world’s oceans each year, killing hundreds of marine animals annually.