A whale in southern Thailand died after swallowing 80 plastic bags, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said. The small male pilot was found barely alive in a canal near the border with Malaysia last week.
A veterinary team tried “to help stabilise its illness but finally, the whale died” Saturday afternoon, the post said. The autopsy revealed 80 plastic bags weighing up to eight kilograms (18 pounds) in the mammal’s stomach, the department added. The whale also vomited five bags during the rescue attempt before it died, the department said. The officials also added that a group of people used buoys to keep the whale afloat and also used an umbrella to shield it from the scorching sun.
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist and lecturer at Kasetsart University, said the bags had made it impossible for the whale to eat any nutritional food. “If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die,” he told AFP. At least 300 marine animals including pilot whales, sea turtles and dolphins perish each year in Thai waters after ingesting plastic, Thon added. “It’s a huge problem,” he said. “We use a lot of plastic.”
Thailand is one of the world’s largest consumers of plastic bags, which kill hundreds of marine creatures living near the country’s popular beaches each year.