Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

40-Ton Sperm Whales Killed by Plastic Bags in Mediterranean

Animals
40-Ton Sperm Whales Killed by Plastic Bags in Mediterranean
Sperm whale. Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

More than a third of the sperm whales found dead in the eastern Mediterranean since 2001 were killed by plastic debris, researchers from the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute in Athens found.

Necropsies on nine of the 24 dead whales found in Greek waters revealed that their stomachs were filled with large amounts of plastic, The Times reported on the Pelagos analysis.


Marine biologists studying the carcasses said the animals likely suffered slow and "excruciating" deaths from the blockage.

One juvenile male found off the coast Mykonos swallowed more than a hundred items of plastic, including single-use plastic bags. One of the bags came from a shop in Thessaloniki, a city 500 miles away.

"The young whale suffered an excruciating death," Pelgaos director Alexandros Frantzis told The Times. "We alone are accountable."

"It's alarming but not surprising," Frantzis added. "The trend is bound to get worse because the amount of plastic waste in the Aegean Sea is growing."

Sperm whales are considered endangered in the Mediterranean. Cetaceans in these waters face threats from high levels of ship traffic, pollution, human density, tourism and fishing, Lifegate noted.

Plastic waste has also become a problem in this marine region. A sperm whale found dead in southern Spain in February was killed after ingesting 64 pounds of mostly plastic garbage. Experts determined the whale was unable to expel or digest the trash, causing it to die from peritonitis, or an infection of the abdomen.

Plastic pollution is a worldwide crisis and, unfortunately, marine life bears the brunt of its harmful impacts. In Australia, a recent video shows four single-use plastic bags being pulled from the stomach of a tiger shark found in South Coast waters, the Northern Daily Leader reported. The shark, which appeared emaciated, likely confused the bags for squid.

The footage has sparked calls for a ban on plastic bags in Australia.

"We have to rethink how we use plastic," marine biologist Murray MacDonald told the Northern Daily Leader after viewing the video. "The evidence is starting to mount rapidly that we just cannot throw away plastic as we have been."

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system. Stevens Fremont / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Grayson Jaggers

The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less
A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch