The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Plastic Bags and Fishing Nets Found in Stomach of Dead Whale
According to the Association Foreign Press (AFP) news agency, the 15-meter (49-foot) whale was first found stranded near the town of Tongshi on Oct. 15.
Coastguards and scientists returned it to the sea, but three days later, the same whale was found dead around 20 kilometers (12 miles) away.
After conducting an autopsy of the whale, local marine biologists reported that there was enough plastic bags and fishing nets found in its stomach to fill an excavator bucket.
Professor Wang Chien-ping, head of the whale research center at National Cheng-Kung University, told the AFP that while the whale might have died from many causes, such as heart or lung disease or infections, trash was also a culprit.
"The large amount of man-made garbage in the stomach could reduce its appetite and cause malnutrition," he said. "It was likely a critical cause of death."
About 80 percent of the sperm whale's diet is giant squid, so this whale might have mistaken plastic bags for food.
He Chih-ying, spokeswoman for The Society of Wilderness conservation group, spoke about how ocean trash is a major plague to marine life.
"We frequently heard of marine animals killed after swallowing lots of garbage, but this one was the biggest in size for many years," she told the AFP.
The harmful effects of marine pollution have been choking the entire marine food chain, from plankton to much larger creatures.
In August, a group of fishermen in Middle Harbour, Sydney, came across an endangered Southern right whale struggling with a plastic bag and fishing line caught in its mouth. Luckily, the men were able to remove the debris.
Marine biologist Tegan A. L. Mortimer told EcoWatch that incident is a reminder that these creatures live in our backyards and are impacted by human activities.
“Globally, the leading threats to whales, dolphins and porpoises are entanglement in fishing gear and strikes from vessels,” she said. “The impacts of plastic pollution on these animals isn’t well understood but we do know, from examples like this, that these animals are interacting with our plastic trash. Plastic in the ocean is something that everyone can have a positive impact on.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.