Dead sperm whale found with 220 lbs. of trash in its stomach
Last week, a young male sperm whale was found dead on a Scottish island with a ball of 220 lbs of trash in its stomach.
CNN reports that the animal died Thursday, on Seilebost beach within the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
Among the debris found in its stomach were sections of fishing nets, plastic cups, and tubing.
Though officials say the waste didn't seem to block the whale’s intestines, they believe the amount of debris could have played a part in the whale becoming stranded.
The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme spoke about the incident, saying, "This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life."
Some experts estimate that about 14 billion pounds of trash -most of it plastic- are dumped into the world’s oceans annually.
This occurs despite the Ocean Dumping Ban Act of 1988, which prohibits the ocean dumping of municipal sewage sludge and industrial wastes, such as wastes from plastics and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants and from petrochemical refineries.