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The whale was an adult male that weighed about 2 tons. Local authorities were forced to euthanize the distressed animal on Jan. 28 after repeatedly stranding itself off the shallow waters of Sotra, an island near Norway's southwestern coast.
After it was put down, University of Bergen researchers analyzed the whale's stomach and determined that the various non-biodegradable objects were likely the cause of death.
According to NRK, large quantities of small plastic as well as candy wrappers and plastic bread bags were found in addition to the 30 plastic bags. The items had packaging and labels in Danish and English.
University of Bergen associate professor Terje Lislevand told the Associated Press that the whale's intestine "had no food, only some remnants of a squid's head in addition to a thin fat layer."
Lislevand also told Norwegian publication Bergens Tidende that the whale was likely in pain due to its clogged stomach.
"The plastic was like a big ball in the stomach and filled it almost completely," he said.
The whale might have mistakenly ingested the plastic bags thinking it was squid, its preferred source of food.
Lislevand remarked that the animal was one of the first Cuvier's beaked whales to be spotted near Norway.
EcoWatch has documented many instances of whales suffering and even dying because of plastic waste. But ocean plastic is not just a problem for whales. Fish, seabirds, turtles and many other marine creatures are choking from the 8 million metric tons of plastic garbage that enters our oceans every year.
Unfortunately, if consumers do not reduce their use of plastic and plastic-intensive goods, the problem will only get worse. A widely reported study found that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 if the world continues to consume and dump this form of non-biodegradable waste at current rates.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Elizabeth Pratt
- Hormel, Kellogg's, and Kroger are among the large companies now planning to offer "fake meat" products at grocery stores.
- Experts say the trend toward plant-based meats coincides with consumers' desires to eat less meat.
- However, experts urge consumers to closely check package labels as a product isn't necessarily healthy just because it's described as plant-based.
In grocery stores and fast-food outlets around the U.S., a revolution is taking place.
Many of us think of the Amazon as an untouched wilderness, but people have been thriving in these diverse environments for millennia. Due to this long history, the knowledge that Indigenous and forest communities pass between generations about plants, animals and forest ecology is incredibly rich and detailed and easily dwarfs that of any expert.
By Wesley Rahn
Plastic byproducts were found in 97 percent of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017, according to a study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute.
Medically reviewed by Daniel Bubnis, MS, NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS
Hot yoga has become a popular exercise in recent years. It offers many of the same benefits as traditional yoga, such as stress reduction, improved strength, and flexibility.
The Trump administration has initialized the final steps to open up nearly 1.6 million acres of the protected Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to allow oil and gas drilling.