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Dead whale in Philippines had 40kg of plastic in stomach

Updated March 19, 2019

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In this photo taken on March 16, 2019, Darrell Blatchley, director of D' Bone Collector Museum Inc, shows plastic waste found in the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale in Compostela Valley, Davao on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. ─ AFP
In this photo taken on March 16, 2019, Darrell Blatchley, director of D' Bone Collector Museum Inc, shows plastic waste found in the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale in Compostela Valley, Davao on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. ─ AFP

MANILA: A starving whale with 40 kilos (88 pounds) of plastic trash in its stomach has died after being washed ashore in the Philippines, activists said on Monday, calling it one of the worst cases of poisoning they have seen.

Environmental groups have tagged the Philippines as one of the world’s biggest ocean polluters due to its reliance on single-use plastic. That sort of pollution, which is also widespread in other southeast Asian nations, regularly kills wildlife like whales and turtles that ingest the waste.

In the latest case, a Cuvier’s beaked whale died on Saturday in the southern province of Compostela Valley where it was stranded a day earlier, the government’s regional fisheries bureau said.

The agency and an environmental group performed a necropsy on the animal and found about 40 kilograms of plastic, including grocery bags and rice sacks.

The animal died from starvation and was unable to eat because of the trash filling its stomach, said Darrell Blatchley, director of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc., which helped conduct the examination.

“It’s very disgusting and heartbreaking,” he said. “We’ve done necropsies on 61 dolphins and whales in the last 10 years and this is one of the biggest (amounts of plastic) we’ve seen.”

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2019