A whale that washed up dead on the shores of the Philippines last week had a staggering 88 pounds of plastic inside its stomach before succumbing to starvation and dehydration.
Darrell Blatchley, the president and founder of Davao City’s D’Bone Collector Museum, told HuffPost the 15.4-foot whale was recovered on Saturday local time after he received an alert from the area’s Department of Agriculture that it was beached in Mabini, a municipality of Compostela Valley.
“It had been vomiting blood before it died,” he said, learning during the necropsy that the cause of death was not natural.
“Upon reaching the stomach I knew this whale had died due to plastic ingestion,” Blatchley said. “I was not prepared for the amount of plastic. 40 kilos roughly of rice sacks, grocery bags, banana plantation bags and general plastic bags. 16 rice sacks total.”
Cetaceans, Blatchley explained, don’t drink water directly from the ocean but take it from the food they consume. Therefore, the cause of death was a lack of both food and water.
According to a World Wildlife Foundation report published this year, if humans don’t curb their pollution habits now, the amount of plastic garbage discarded into the environment will double by 2030, with the most visible impact hitting oceans.
The WWF predicts that because the increase of plastic usage has overwhelmed the capacity of waste management, “ocean plastic leakage will remain above nine million metric tons per year until 2030.”
Ingestion by whales like the one Blatchley examined isn’t the only risk. Plastics also cause wildlife entanglement and devastating damage to habitats.