BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Scientists in Norway made an unsettling discovery. They found a dying whale stranded off the coast and discovered around 30 plastic bags and more plastic waste inside its stomach.
The whale had consumed a dangerous quantity of non-biodegradable waste, therefore the wardens realized they should ease its suffering and put the whale down.
A huge amount of plastic was clogged in the whale’s stomach. However, the experts were not surprised that the waste causes so many marine life forms to die, since the plastic volume that gathers in our seas and oceans is in a continuous growth.
The poor specimen stranded off the Norwegian coast was a Cuvier’s beaked whale. It was found in the shallow waters near the island of Sotra. The whale was in a poor condition, it looked almost skeletal, suggesting that the plastic gathered in its stomach brought it to starvation. Also, the waste must have been caught in the intestines, causing severe pain.
This terrible condition gave no other choice to the wardens than to put the animal down. Dr. Terje Lislevand is one of the zoologists that studied the whale. He declared himself not surprised by the finding, but he was still concerned of the high amount of plastic that was found inside the whale’s digestive system and which is often found in the sea.
He also stated that the majority of plastic bags found in the whale contained labeling written in English and Danish.
This species of whale, the Cuvier’s beaked whale, can grow up to 22ft long. Their regular meals include squid and fish found in deep seas. They are generally not found near the Norwegian waters, so it is a bit peculiar that they got stranded so far away from where they usually reside.
Last year, the experts made a worrying announcement. They declared that, supposedly, by year, 2050, plastic would outnumber the sea life forms. The World Economic Forum reported that more than 8 million tons of plastic already end up in the oceans yearly. This means about a truck full of plastic that invades the waters every minute.
If this was not enough, plastic pollution is expected to increase together with emerging economies that have a poor recycling system. Thus, we should be careful how we manage our garbage and try to raise awareness on the impacts pollution may have on the environment.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons