Probably, one of the most unfortunate news from last week. A dead whale was found beached in the Philippines. While the death of the largest mammal is as saddening as it gets, there is a more grieving part of the story. The whale had 88 pounds of plastic inside its body which is supposedly the most ever found.
Weighing around 500kg and length exceeding 15 feet, the whale’s dead body was found lying on the beach close to Mabini town in the Philippines. The animal had ingested a variety of plastic trash from rice bags to disposable bottles.
After the necropsy procedure concluded, the examiner remarked as the worst and the biggest collection of plastic witnessed in history. On further investigation, it was also revealed that plastic had solidified to a great extent. It became as hard as a solid break making it even difficult to pull the substances out of the body.
How plastic led to the death of the whale?
Thankfully to the scientists’ cause, the reason for the death of the whale has been identified. This is not the first time a case similar to this one has appeared. There are numerous other incidents which can be identified. Some we are not aware of primarily because deaths might have occurred under the water.
Anyhow, plastic is like an indirect poison for the whale slowly leading to the death of the poor animal. When it is ingested in greater amounts, it leads to a feeling of fullness for the whale. In other words, the animal disregards eating anything further due to the accumulation of plastic in the stomach. As a subsequent result, it will not consume essential nutrients needed to sustain a living. Gradually, being deprived of food will drain away energy finally leading to death.
Long story short, since a whale is unable to digest plastic, the sensation of being full will make it avoid taking in vital nutrients.
A danger to marine life
We, humans, are inflicting great danger to marine life putting at risk the lives of thousands of other sea animals. The death of the poor whale in the Philippines should ring a bell in our ears. It is high time, we contribute our part to save the sea species from being subjected to such cruel ways of dying.
According to the UN Environment programme, as much as 9 million tons of plastic gets accumulated in oceans. Five countries accounting for half of the total waste of which the Philippines is a part.
While previously oil spills were known to be a big threat for marine life, plastic plays an equally dangerous role.
As a first case scenario, it is important to acknowledge the problem exists. We as humans are the ones putting the lives of the animals in considerable danger. Therefore, the solution needs to be carried out by us.
That being said, authorities of every country should step in the picture and take necessary steps. Use of plastic should be banned in the areas close to the sea. In addition, heavy fines should be imposed on people who dispose of waste in the water. Lastly, it is more than necessary to make the general population aware of the intensity of the problem.