Disposing plastics to the oceans is horrible for the continuation of marine life, and this is nothing new. No matter how damaged the ocean already is, humans never seem to learn their lesson. As if we needed more evidence to prove the effects of polluting oceans, a sperm whale was recently discovered dead, with 13 pounds of plastic in its stomach.
The massive carcass was found near Kapota Island in Indonesia, on Monday. It was 31 feet in length. Since the carcass was in an advanced state of decay, it’s very difficult to determine how much the plastics have affected its death. But, one thing is for sure. The animal never got any benefits from the plastics.
WWF Indonesia revealed in a tweet that the deceased whale’s carcass contained a whopping 25 plastic bags, four plastic bottles, 19 pieces of hard plastics, 115 plastic cups, two flip flops, and seven pounds of string.
In an interview with Associated Press, Dwi Suprapti, marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia, stated that although the exact reason for the death hasn’t been determined yet, what we can see is absolutely horrifying. In June 2020, a pilot whale was found dead off the Thai coast, after swallowing around 17 pounds of plastic. This incident is another heartbreaking addition to the long list of tragedies caused by ocean pollution.
Christopher Joyce of NPR reported that Indonesia is the second-largest producer of plastic pollution in the oceans. Unsurprisingly, China comes first on the list. The Indonesian government, however, is taking necessary steps to reduce plastic use inside the country. Teaching children the importance of recycling plastics, and encouraging shops to stop the use of plastic bags are some steps taken by the government.
Although there’s still a long way to go, the country aims to reduce the disposal of plastics by 70% by 2025.
Smaller pieces of plastic carry much more danger than larger plastic items. Smaller plastic pieces break down into microplastics, and these get retained not only in water bodies like oceans, rivers, and lakes; but also in soil. To make matters even worse, microplastics may be present in drinking water, beer, sea salt, fish, shellfish as well.
Since we consume these items on a daily basis, it is needless to mention how ocean pollution negatively affects the human population. So, it is everybody’s responsibility to protect oceans and marine biodiversity.