[SOURCE] On July 29, 2013, a sperm whale was stranded on Tershelling, a northern island in the Netherlands. A rescue was attempted, but unfortunately the whale died. The young adult was taken for a necropsy, and it was found that the whale had plastic in its stomach, an increasingly common phenomenon.
Avoidable deaths caused by ingestion of inorganic materials are not uncommon in marine mammals.
- In 1989, a stranded sperm whale in the Lavezzi Islands died after ingesting plastic bags and 100 feet of plastic sheeting.
- In 1990, a sperm whale examined for pathology in Iceland died of an obstruction of the gut with plastic marine debris.
- In August of 2008, a sperm whale washed up in Point Reyes, California with 450 pounds of fishing net, rope, and plastic bags in its stomach.
Whales are not the only victims to our trash. It is estimated that over one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from plastic debris.
In September 2009, photographs of albatross chicks on Midway Atoll were brought to the public’s eye. These nesting chicks were fed bellies full of plastic by their parents who soar over vastly polluted oceans collecting what looks to them to be food. This diet of human trash kills tens of thousands of albatross chicks each year on Midway because of starvation, toxicity, and choking. Warning: through brutally honest, this video may be tear inducing!