Marine animals killed by plastic alarm environmentalist

MANILA -- An environmentalist has called for immediate ‘large-scale’ action against plastic pollution after a young whale was found dead on the shores of Compostela Valley with 40kgs of plastic in its stomach on March 15.

“The frequency of which marine animals are dying due to plastic ingestion is alarming,” said Abigail Aguilar, campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines, in a statement on Tuesday.

“This is not just a cause for alarm, this must be an urgent call for quick, effective, sustainable and large-scale action against plastic pollution. From production, to consumption, to disposal, we have to get our acts together,” she added.

Abigail said whales, dolphins, and turtles have died in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines in less than a year, calling it “a clear proof how grave plastic pollution affects our environment, most specifically ocean creatures”.

“In Davao Gulf alone, three whales and a dolphin have been found dead with plastic in their stomach for this year, and we are just about to close the first quarter of 2019,” Abigail added.

Just a week ago, Abigail said her group documented a crab trapped inside a disposable cup under the seas of Verde Island Passage, the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the world.

“It is unimaginable how many more animals are mistaking and ingesting plastic for food right now, and how many more of them will be found beached and dead soon. One piece of plastic found in the stomach of a whale or a dolphin is one piece of plastic too many. How many dead whales, dolphins, or sea turtles do we need before we wake up and take drastic action on plastic pollution?,” she said.

An examination conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources - Fishery Management Regulatory Division on the carcass of the Cuvier's beaked whale washed ashore in Compostela Valley showed that the cause of death was ‘starvation and dehydration’ after it was found that it ingested 40kgs of rice sacks, a plastic bag used in banana plantation, and shopping bags. (PNA)