In eastern Indonesia, a dead whale that washed ashore had a large part of plastic waste in its stomach, including drinking cups and flip-flops, prompting concern among environmentalists and government officials.
Wakatobi National Park rescuers found the rotting body of the 9.5-metre-long whale near the park in Southeast Sulawesi province after receiving a report from environmentalists that villagers had surrounded the dead whale and were beginning to butcher the remains.
Researchers from wildlife conservation group WWF and the park’s conservation academy found about 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in the animal’s stomach containing 115 plastic cups, 25 plastic bags, four plastic bottles, 2 flip-flops, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 other different pieces of plastic, said Park chief Heri Santoso.
Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia said: “Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful. it was not possible to determine whether the plastic had caused the whale’s death because of the animal’s advanced state of decay.”
Indonesia’s coordinating minister of maritime affairs named Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that the whale’s discovery should raise public awareness about the need to reduce plastic use, and had pushed the government to take tougher measures to protect the ocean.