By Tony Diver, Press Association
A dead whale with 40 kilograms of plastic in its stomach has been discovered off the coast of the Philippines.
Marine biologist Darrell Blatchley was called to recover the 4.7m (15.4ft) Cuvier’s beaked whale, which was trapped in the shores of the Mabini Compostela Valley.
By the time Mr Blatchley arrived, the whale had died, showing signs of starvation and dehydration, and had been vomiting blood.
A necropsy revealed 40 kilograms of plastic waste in the whale’s stomach, made up of shopping bags, banana plantation bags and 16 rice sacks.
It had died of starvation and dehydration, tests confirmed.
Images posted on Facebook show the whale’s corpse being towed to shore, then sheets of plastic being lifted out of its stomach.
Mr Blatchley and other marine biologists at the the D’Bone Museum in Davao City have recovered 61 whales and dolphins in the last 10 years, but said that their latest discovery was “the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale”.
The museum called on the Philippines government to take action against people dumping plastic into the sea.
Mr Blatchley told the Press Association: “Upon reaching the stomach I knew this whale had died due to plastic ingestion.
“I was not prepared for the amount of plastic. Forty kilos roughly of rice sacks, grocery bags, banana plantation bags and general plastic bags. Sixteen rice sacks total. It was so bad the plastic was beginning calcification.
“The Philippine people are a proud people, sadly it’s not in being clean or taking care of the environment.
“The Philippines needs to change from the children up or nothing will be left.”