Earlier this month, a 22 foot-long sperm whale washed ashore in Wales. In May, the carcass of a young sperm whale was found in Italy. In April, a pregnant sperm whale washed up on a beach in Sardinia. And recently, a sperm whale beached on a Scottish island. What connects the deaths of these marine mammals is plastic debris in their stomach.
Pictures of the juvenile male whale that washed ashore on a Scottish island with around 100 kilograms (220 pounds) debris in its stomach have not only left activists disturbed but netizens have also expressed anguish over the extent of damage that plastic waste has done to the marine world.
Pictures of the sperm whale, which died at the Seilebost beach on the Isle of Harris, UK, were shared on the Facebook page of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) -- an organisation that collates data on stranded marine animals around Scotland -- along with the trash that was removed from its stomach.
Amid marine debris were chunks of plastic ropes, gloves, plastic bags and nets that were discovered during the necropsy, CNN reported.
While the organisation could not confirm whether it was the plastic waste that led to the whale's death, they told the news website that it could have "compromised digestion".
"This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life."
The post evoked concern from netizens, with some saying more needed to be done for sea mammals. Another commented, "What a very sad ending to such a magnificent beast and on the most beautiful beach."