Late in May, a pilot whale washed up clinging to life in southern Thailand. For nearly a week, veterinarians tried to nurse it back to health, but four days later, it died. An autopsy revealed it had some 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach, which included more than 80 plastic bags.
The male pilot whale was found in a canal in Songkhla, a province in the south of Thailand. Rescuers kept it afloat and shaded it from the sun, but after vomiting up five plastic bags, the whale died.
According to Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the marine and coastal resources department, the male pilot whale probably thought the bags were edible, as they slightly resemble a squid, a main source of pilot whale’s diet. “If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die,” Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist, told The Independent.
Each year, Thailand puts over one million pounds of garbage into the ocean, making it one of the biggest offenders on earth, along with China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Officials there, at least, do realize they have a problem and have pledged to figure out a solution.