A whale washed up in southern Thailand has died after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags.
Rescuers tried to save the small pilot whale after he was found stranded in a canal near the border with Malaysia.
According to the Thai department of marine and coastal resources, a team attempted to stabilise the whale but were unable to save him. An autopsy later revealed that 80 plastic bags weighing up to 8kg (18lb) were lodged inside the whale’s stomach, making it very difficult for the whale to eat.
Plastic is a growing threat to whales and dolphins as well as seabirds and other marine creatures with over half of all whale and dolphin species recorded eating plastics they’ve mistaken for food.
Thailand is one of the world’s largest users of plastic bags. Local experts say that at least 300 marine animals including pilot whales, sea turtles and dolphins, have perished each year in Thai waters after ingesting plastic.
Last week, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a European Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.
For more information on the plastics issue, its effect of whales and dolphins, and how you can help, go to WDC’s #NotWhaleFood site.