Indonesia is one of the world’s largest plastic polluting countries and the consequences are clearly evident. A dead sperm whale washed ashore in Sulawesi with about 1000 pieces of plastic which included single-use plastic bags, flip-flops, soda cans, plastic bottles and about 115 drinking cups in its stomach.
Some of the villagers in the southeast Sulawesi province had surrounded the carcass and were beginning to butcher the dead sperm whale when rescuers from the Wakatobi national park found it.
Park chief Heri Santoso said the environmentalists from WWF, researchers and park’s conservation academy found about 13lbs(5.9kg) of plastic weight in the stomach of this 31 ft dead whale. Two flip-flops, 25 plastic bags,115 plastic cups, a nylon sack and about 1000 pieces of assorted plastic made up for the 5.9 kg plastic waste was found in its stomach.
Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF said they have not been able to find the cause of death, but the awful lot plastic found inside the dead whale is a shocking fact.
Indonesia is the world’s second largest plastic polluter after China producing about 3.2 million tons of plastic a year out of which 1.28 million tons end up in the ocean. Plastic pollution in Indonesia is a matter of great concern among environmentalists and government officials and this incident calls for stricter rules regarding the free usage of plastic and better policies to be implemented.
Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister of maritime affairs says the discovery of a dead whale is a sad fact and there is a possibility of other marine animals being contaminated with plastic waste. He said the government is making efforts to reduce plastic and urging shopkeepers to not freely hand out plastic bags to customers. The government has targeted to reduce the use of plastic by 70% by 2025 by running programs in schools to educate children about the problems of plastic and making tougher measures to protect oceans.