A young pilot whale struggling to swim in the waters off southern Thailand was found last week in a canal near the border with Malaysia with a stomach full of plastic shopping bags and other plastic debris, according to news reports.
Veterinarians tried to save the small male, which threw up five plastic bags as they were trying to help him, but he died on Friday, five days after they found him, National Geographic reported.
A necropsy on the mammal discovered 80 plastic shopping bags and other debris in his stomach. More than 17 pounds of plastic had clogged up his stomach and caused him to starve, according to National Geographic.
Scientists discovered 64 pounds of plastic garbage inside a young sperm whale that washed up on a beach in southern Spain in late February and believe the plastic trash killed it, too.
There’s no way to know how many other marine animals are suffering from plastic pollution because most may not wash up on shore, according to scientists.
Recently, scientists reported on just one area of plastic garbage pollution in the ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, revising the size of the pollution there. The patch had grown four to 16 times larger over the past decade and contains 87,000 pounds of mostly plastic trash, they said.
There are other garbage patches like the one in the Pacific in other oceans on the planet.
Some areas, including places in the U.S., have banned the use of plastic bags because of widespread pollution.
National Geographic reported some 18 billion pounds of plastic ends up in the oceans every year, and each American is responsible for about 185 pounds a year.
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