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We're at COP28 to Save the Whale, Save the World.

We’re at COP28 to save the whale, save the world

Ed Goodall Ed is WDC's head of intergovernmental engagement. He meets with world leaders to...
Gray whales from drone.

We’re taking steps to uncover the mysteries of whales

Vicki James Vicki is WDC's protected areas coordinator, she helps to create safe ocean spaces...
We must protect our non-human allies. Image: Tom Brakefield, aurore murguet, johan63

We’re urging governments to protect all of our climate heroes – CITES

Katie Hunter Katie supports WDC's engagement in intergovernmental conversations and is working to end captivity...
The Natütama Foundation are dedicated to protecting endangered river dolphins. Image: Natutama

Guardians of the Amazon: protecting the endangered river dolphins

Ali Wood Ali is WDC's education projects coordinator. She is the editor of Splash! and KIDZONE,...
Amazon river dolphins. Image: Fernando Trujillo/Fundacion Omacha

Amazon tragedy as endangered river dolphins die in hot water

Ali Wood Ali is WDC's education projects coordinator. She is the editor of Splash! and KIDZONE,...
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin © Mike Bossley/WDC

WDC in Japan – Part 3: Restoring freedom to dolphins in South Korea

Katrin Matthes Katrin is WDC's communications and campaigns officer for policy & communication in Germany...
Wintery scene in Iceland

Seeking sanctuary – Iceland’s complex relationship with whales

Hayley Flanagan Hayley is WDC's engagement officer, specialising in creating brilliant content for our website...
Whaling ship Hvalur 8 arrives at the whaling station with two fin whales

A summer of hope and heartbreak for whales in Icelandic waters

Luke McMillan Luke is WDC's Head of hunting and captivity. Now that the 2023 whaling season...
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Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

Norway's government has announced an increase in the number of minke whales that can be...

Norway's whaling season begins

April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium...

A message from the deep

This blog was written by WDC interns at the Scottish Dolphin Centre; Emily, Sadie, Emma and Anna to highlight the problem of plastic pollution. They set themselves a challenge to go plastic free and here they share their experience, struggles and successes.

 In December 2015 a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale stranded on the Isle of Skye bringing with it a message… Its stomach contained more than 4kg of plastic.

Cuvier’s Beaked Whales are the deepest diving whales in the world. They dive to depths of 3000 metres to feed on the sea bed. So what does this tell us about the depths of our oceans? It would seem this whale brought a message from the deep, and in doing so it lost its life. The oceans are full of our plastic and it’s killing the wildlife that calls the sea their home.

We talk a lot about the ocean being ours. Our oceans. However, is it really ours? Do we call it home? Do we raise our children and have our families in the oceans? No, it’s not ours. It’s theirs. It belongs to the thousands of species that call it home. So why do we think we have the right to destroy another species home?

Each year, thousands of animals die as a result of ingesting or becoming entangled in marine litter. It is a shocking fact that we are poisoning their oceans with over 8 million tons of plastic every single year. Over the next decade this figure is predicted to increase tenfold unless we can all change the way we use and dispose of our waste. In fact, scientists calculate that by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic than fish. Is this the kind of legacy we want to leave future generations?  

As interns for WDC and passionate campaigners for marine conservation it was easy for us to assume that we are already doing our very best to look out for marine habitats and wildlife. However, on 17th August 2017 we watched a documentary called ‘A Plastic Ocean’. This is an incredibly hard-hitting film which sheds light on the troubling state of the marine environment. It was a stark reminder of the consequences of our ‘throwaway society’ and pointed out that every single one of us must take responsibility for what we put in the bin.

Since watching the film, our household has suddenly become hyper-aware of the plastic we use. It’s everywhere. Our fruit and veg are bagged in it, our meat and cheese is covered, our snacks are wrapped, our milk bottled. A worrying amount of this is ‘single use’ – often non-recyclable plastic only used once before it is thrown into landfill. 

We also started to do some research of our own – we wanted to find out more about why plastic in particular was deemed ‘the worst kind of marine litter’ and why so much of it that we presumed safely disposed of in landfill was finding its way into the sea. We discovered that once created, plastic never truly biodegrades and will continue to cause huge amounts of damage to the marine environment even when it has broken down into tiny pieces (micro-plastics). It is currently very difficult to remove litter from the ocean, so plastic continues to build year on year.

We also found that land based sources account for up to 80 percent of the world’s marine pollution and that between 60 and 95 percent of that is plastic. Whether blown, washed or carried it is clear that our responsibly binned rubbish is still a big part of the marine problem. 

So what is the solution? It is very easy for us the blame big corporations and companies for producing and selling the plastic we use. However, we often fail to recognise that the best way we can put these companies under pressure and force them to change is to first change our own behaviour as consumers. After all, if we stop paying for it, they’ll stop making it.

So we decided to take up the challenge! With a budget of £30 each we will be attempting to see how much we can reduce the amount of plastic we buy as part of our weekly shop. We will be comparing the weight of the plastic bought in a normal weekly shop and seeing how much we can reduce this by making more informed choices with our money. We will be sharing our experiences, successful or not, so that you can get some ideas about reducing the plastic you use and buy.  

Watch this space!

Below is an image of our plastic waste last week. Our challenge for this week: to find simple alternatives to the food we enjoy which are not packaged in plastic.

Week 1 – 1.25kg of plastic. Yellow box shows the recyclable plastic.

A Plastic Ocean can be watched on Netflix or downloaded online.