Earlier this month, workers with the D’Bone Collector Museum in the Philippines recovered the remains of a beaked whale that had appeared near Davao City. In its most recent update about the deceased animal, the museum revealed the whale’s cause of death: the ingestion of approximately 88lbs of plastic. The materials were primarily composed of plastic bags, including shopping bags and rice sacks.
D’Bone Collector Museum published its update over the weekend, including multiple images of the whale’s necropsy and the plastic contents of its stomach, on Facebook. The organization plans to list a full breakdown of each item recovered from the remains, but at this time has stated that it includes four “banana plantation style” bags, shopping bags, and 16 rice sacks.
The huge quantity of plastic was a startling, and concerning, discovery. Speaking to CNN Philippines, marine biologist Darrell Blatchley said the beaked whale had been observed vomiting blood before it died earlier this month. The mass of plastic bags in the whale’s stomach was described as so large it had started to calcify.
According to the museum’s Facebook post, this was the largest amount of plastic it had discovered in a whale, which died of starvation and dehydration related to the bags. This is the latest among many whales and dolphins recovered near the Philippines, most having died from ingesting plastic waste and fishing nets.
“It’s disgusting,” the museum said. “Action must be taken by the government against those who continue to treat the waterways and ocean as dumpsters.” Unfortunately, the problem is widespread. Last summer, officials in Thailand revealed that a deceased whale had 80 plastic bags in its stomach at the time of its death.