It’s sad when you see whales die after getting stranded on the beach. They die because of dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or when the high tide covers their blowholes. Estimates say that 2,000 sea creatures beach themselves each year. In 2015, 337 beached whales were discovered in Chile, becoming the largest number of beached whales to date.
You know what’s worse? When beached whales reveal that their stomachs were full of plastic.
Mission Blue, an American organization that hopes to create a global network of marine protected areas shared a picture showing two beached whales in Germany.
According to the caption, “Post-mortem examinations of the thirteen North Sea sperm whales recently stranded on the coast of Germany revealed that their stomachs were full of plastic.”
Researchers at the University of Georgia declared that the amount of garbage in the ocean creates an environmental hazard often compared to climate change.
When Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing and planes went searching for it, it showed the extent of trash in the ocean. National Geographic states, “But as hundreds of objects sighted off the Australian coast as possible aircraft debris turn out to be discarded fishing equipment, cargo container parts, or plastic shopping bags, a new narrative is emerging in the hunt for the missing plane: There’s more garbage out there than you think. Most of it is plastic. And marine life ingests it, with catastrophic consequences.”
About 90% of trash in oceans are composed of plastic (which is not biodegradable), and over 136 species of marine animals have been found entangled in its wake. The organization SEE Turtles said that “Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than 1 million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris.”
What should we do to prevent this? Share your ideas below!