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Whale's Tragic Death by Plastic Bags a Reminder of a Global Crisis
The whale was found in critical condition in a canal near Thailand's border with Malaysia on May 28. Photos posted on Thai Whales' Facebook page show a group of people tending to the whale and trying to keep it afloat.
According to Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the whale vomited five plastic bags on Friday and eventually died that afternoon.
"This plastic rubbish made the whale sick and unable to hunt for food," the department said on its website.
Grisly photos on the marine department's Facebook page show dozens of black plastic bags exhumed from the whale.
"Ask your heart to see if you're still going to dump the trash," the post stated.
Jatuporn Buruspat, head of the department, told Reuters the whale probably mistook the floating plastic bags for food.
Around the world, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste gets dumped in our oceans every year. A 2015 study found that 60 percent of the world's plastic waste comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist and lecturer at Kasetsart University, told AFP that about 300 marine animals including pilot whales, sea turtles and dolphins die each year in Thailand after ingesting plastic.
"It's a huge problem," he said. "We use a lot of plastic."
"If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die," Thamrongnawasawat added.
The pilot whale's death is another grim reminder of the harmful impact of ocean pollution. In April, a 6-ton, 33-foot-long juvenile sperm whale was found dead in southern Spain. A necropsy reveled it ingested 64 pounds of mostly plastic garbage.
Folks around the world expressed sadness about the latest man-made tragedy.
"Many in the region and around the world are extremely concerned about such incidents," Suresh Valiyaveettil, an expert in polymer chemistry at the National University of Singapore, told the New York Times in an email. "Considering the amount of plastic in the ocean, unfortunately, such incidents are going to be more common in the near future."
Tomorrow will mark the United Nations' World Environment Day, which centers around the theme of beating plastic pollution.
On Monday in Vietnam, 41 embassies and international organizations signed a Code of Conduct on Combating Plastic Pollution.
According to Vietnam News, signatories include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the U.S. as well as 16 UN agencies, funds, program, offices and the World Bank.
- A sperm whale died from eating 64 pounds of plastic litter, marine ... ›
- Whale found dying off coast of Norway with 30 plastic bags in its ... ›
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‘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.