Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Whale dies from eating more than 80 plastic bags

Whale dies from eating more than 80 plastic bags

Rescuers attempted to nurse the whale back to health, but he died on Friday after spitting up five plastic bags.

A pilot whale has died off southern Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags, Thai marine officials say. An autopsy exhumed 8 kg (more than 17 lb) of additional plastic rubbish from the whale's stomach, the department said in a Facebook post.

"If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die", he said. 'We use a lot of plastic'.

Volunteers and veterinarians worked for several days to save the wale. It vomited five plastic bags during the rescue attempt.

Late in May, a pilot whale washed up clinging to life in southern Thailand.

The plastic bags made it extremely hard for the whale to digest anything of nutritional value, said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist, and Lecturer at Kasetsart University.

His post went on to encourage Thais to replace plastic bag usage with reusable bags, writing, "In the meantime, I can only ask, my friend, 'please, don't forget the fabric bag from home'".

Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam dump more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world combined, according to Ocean Conservancy, a Washington-based non-profit.

Thailand is a major user of plastic bags, despite calls for a government-imposed levy on them, and hundreds of marine animals are believed to die in waters off the country each year.

"But people haven't really cared to change their behaviour despite being aware of the damage", Thon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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