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03rd Jun 2018

Pilot whale dies after eating 80 plastic bags in the ocean

It washed up on a canal in southern Thailand on Monday and was unable to swim

Kyle Picknell

They are believed to kill hundreds of marine animals each year.

Thai marine officials have reported the death of a pilot whale, notable because they found 80 plastic bags in the animal’s stomach which had prevented it from being able to eat and swim.

The bags weighed 8kg in total and five of them were vomited out by the whale during attempts by conservation officials to save it after it had washed up on Na Thap Canal last Monday in the Songkhla province.

Environmental officials used boats to try to help float the whale and even built a shade so that it was out of the sun. They took care of the whale through the week but ultimately could do nothing as it died on Friday afternoon.

According to the BBC Marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat explained that the bags made it impossible for the whale to eat food. “If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die,” he said.

Thailand remains a heavy user of plastic bags and its government has yet to levy them, although it did announce last month that this policy could come in the future.