Upsetting 22kg discovery in stomach of dead whale that beached in Italy

A whale that beached in Indonesia in November 2018, found with 6kg of plastic in its stomach.
A whale that beached in Indonesia in November 2018, found with 6kg of plastic in its stomach. Photo credit: Muhammad Irpan Sejati Tassaka AKKP Wakatobi.

A whale that beached in an Italian shore had 22kg of plastic in its stomach, prompting a renewed call for an end to plastic pollution from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).

The young pregnant sperm whale was found dead on the coast of Porto Cervo, a popular tourist destination in Italy. Its foetus was also dead.

WWF said its death was caused by plastic bags, single-use plates, packaging, fisheries items and other plastic waste.

It said the discovery of the enormous amount of plastic inside the whale was "yet another painful reminder of the devastating impact that plastic pollution is having on our oceans".

"This is a global crisis that can only be solved if countries and businesses come together and accelerate progress towards a global and legally binding agreement on marine plastic pollution."

The European Union (EU) recently adopted a new directive that will ban single-use plastic items such as plastic plates and straws by 2021. In the wake of this beaching, the Italian environmental minister said their government is committed to be one of the first to enact this change.

WWF called on all members of the EU to urgently implement the law to "stop plastic from reaching the Mediterranean Sea and other parts of the environment".

"Current efforts to tackle the problem are simply not working and, just few weeks ago, world governments again failed to take decisive action on marine plastic pollution at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi."

Over 372,000 people have signed a WWF petition to take action on the plastic pollution crisis.

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