A pilot whale who turned up in a canal in northern Thailand died after spitting out five plastic trash bags, only for a post-mortem to uncover 80 more in the animal's system.
Veterinarians had worked for five days to free the whale from the Songkhla canal, but were ultimately unsuccessful.
However, according to Marine Biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat, confinement was not the reason for the whale's death.
The investigation also turned up other items which - together with the 85 plastic bags - came to 17 pounds of human-made waste that had compromised the whale's basic functions.
Thamrongnawasawat said: "If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die."
He went on to explain that plastics are the cause of death for at least 300 marine mammals found in Thailand annually.
Marine and Coastal Department Chief Jatuporn Buruspat said that the case will be used to prompt 'all sectors to show their intentions on how to reduce the use of plastic' in the country.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Executive Director in North American, explained to National Geographic that the 18 million pounds of plastic added to the world's oceans each year affects animals and humans alike - poisoning the latter by way of 'seafood'.
Of the whale's death, she said: "It's symbolic at best, but it's symbolic of an incredibly significant problem."
Emily Court is a passionate ethical vegan from Eastern Canada. She is a Challenge 22 Mentor, Digital Writer, and experienced animal advocate driven by issues of animal liberation and social justice. She studied at Dalhousie University, where her thesis highlighted intercultural and gender relations. She is an established public speaker, writer, and world traveller with a drive to provide a voice to those who might not otherwise have one. You can follow her on Instagram @emily.j.court or on Twitter @_EmilyJCourt_.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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