Environment: Dead Whale Found with 115 Plastic Cups in Its Stomach in Indonesia

A dead whale has been found ashore on an Indonesian beach with a large amount of plastic waste in its stomach.

Rescuers from Wakatobi National Park found the 9.5-metre-long sperm whale on Monday near Kapota Island, Southeast Sulawesi following reports from environmentalists.

Park chief Heri Santoso said researchers from the park’s conservation academy and the wilderness preservation group WWF found about 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in the carcass’s stomach, consisting of 115 drinking cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two sandals and 3.26 kilograms of plastic strings.

“Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful,” said Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation co-ordinator at WWF Indonesia. Suprapti said the cause of death could not be determined due to the animal’s advanced state of decay.

According to a 2015 report, Indonesia is one of the world’s top five contributors of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean, next to China, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. A study published in January revealed that Indonesia produces 3.2 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste every year, 1.29 million of which ends up in the sea.