Whales losing lives with plastic waste is becoming a routine nowadays. Another sperm whale expired in southern cost of Spain earlier this February. It was reported that the whale swallowed almost 64 pounds of plastic waste and was found dead on the Murcian coast. This incident has highlighted the fact that how deadly the plastic waste can be in the oceans.
This whole matter was examined by the El Valle Wildlife Rescue Center. The report presented by the rescue center was shocking as it is stated that the Sperm Whale was killed due to the gastric shock and this shock was caused after the Whale digested 64 pounds of plastic waste. The things found in the stomach of the whales included plastic bags, plastic sacks, and ropes.
The internal walls of the whale’s abdomen were completely eaten by the bacteria and fungus produced by the plastic waste. When the plastic was swallowed by the whale, he was unable to expel the waste from its system, which caused the death of the whale.
According to the experts, when the whale digested all the plastic waste, his stomach couldn’t digest all these plastic things and as a result, the Whale died due to peritonitis. The Whale had a shocking weight of 6 tonnes and was 33 meters long. The normal diet of Sperm Whales is squid and their average age is same as of humans – 70 years.
The only positive thing that came after this incident was the ban on dumping plastic waste. Yes, the Murcia Government and the local people of Murcia launched a campaign against the disposal of plastic waste in coastal town water. Many organizations are active in raising awareness about problems caused by the plastic waste in oceans. The coastal community of Murcia is also very active in spreading awareness about the threats of plastic waste to marine life.
All such incidents are clarifying that the plastic in our oceans is a big threat to the marine life. According to a survey, more than 5 trillion plastic pieces are found annually from the oceans all over the world. To add to the miseries, marine scientists believe that by 2050, the total weight of the plastic can outweigh total fishes in the oceans of the whole world.
Due to excessive use of plastic, the death rate of whales has become significantly high in last few years and this is not the first incident where a whale lost life due to plastic waste, back in 2016, a bunch of 13 whales were found dead due to plastic waste ingestion. This incident took place in a local seashore of Germany. After the investigation, it was reported that whales died due to starvation and not plastic waste. However, a 43-foot long fisherman’s net was found in the stomach of one of those whales – which is an alarming situation.
All the 13 whales were between age 10-15 and weighed around 16 tons.
Steps Taken To Avoid Such Incidents:
To avoid such scenarios, many countries are banning the use of single plastic bags often used in grocery stores. Let’s look at the map below to understand deeply about the countries who have banned the use of such plastic accessories.
In the map, the green color indicates those countries in which single-use plastic bags are totally banned. Yellow color indicates those countries in which there is a tax on single-use plastic bags. Orange color indicates those countries which have a voluntary tax agreement on the use of such bags. While purple color indicates those countries who have a partial tax or ban on the single-use plastic bags.
European Union is also very keen on this matter and is pushing out to reuse all the plastic waste till 2030. In the meantime, many oceans and beaches are in the process of cleaning as many projects are initiated in this context.
Marine life needs to get more protection from us and no one has a right to snatch the life of any other living thing. To avoid such incidents, all the beaches and oceans should be cleaned from the plastic waste.