AN eight meter (26 foot) sperm whale that washed up on the Italian coast last week was found to have an astonishing 22 kilos of plastics in its stomach, leading environmentalists to question how much damage human consumption is doing to marine life. The whale had been pregnant but the foetus was also dead while the state of decomposition led scientists to believe it had probably died before its mother, with the plastics being a likely cause of death.
The incident happened in Sardinia and an autopsy is being carried out to determine the exact cause of death. The debris included bags, fishing nets and lines, tubes, plastic bottles and various other rubbish. Italy’s environment minister Sergio Costa posted on social media saying”Are there still people who say these are not important problems? For me they are, and they are priorities.” He went on to say that we are starting to pay the price for years of being a disposable society and pledged his support for the EU ban on single use plastics due to come into force in 2021.