In this photo taken on Thursday, March 28, 2019 and provided by SEAME Sardinia Onlus, a dead whale lies in the water in Porto Cervo, Sardinia island, Italy. The World Wildlife Foundation is sounding the alarm over plastics in the Mediterranean Sea after an 8-meter-long sperm whale was found dead off Sardinia with 22 kilograms (48.5 pounds) of plastic found in its belly. (SEAME Sardinia Onlus via AP)

Environmental group sounds alarm after 48 lbs of plastic found in dead whale

The female whale beached off the northern coast of Sardinia last week

An 8-meter (26-foot) sperm whale was found dead off Sardinia with 22 kilograms (48.5 pounds) of plastic in its belly, prompting the World Wildlife Foundation to sound an alarm Monday over the dangers of plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea.

The environmental group said the garbage recovered from the sperm whale’s stomach included a corrugated tube for electrical works, plastic plates, shopping bags, tangled fishing lines and a washing detergent package with its bar code still legible.

The female whale beached off the northern coast of Sardinia last week, within the vast Pelagos marine sanctuary that was created as a haven for dolphins, whales and other sea life.

“It is the first time we have been confronted with an animal with such a huge quantity of garbage,” Cinzia Centelegghe, a biologist with the University of Padova, told the Turin daily La Stampa.

The exam also determined that the whale was carrying a fetus that had died and was in an advance state of decomposition. Experts said the mother whale had been unable to digest calamari due to the huge amount of plastic it had ingested, filling two-thirds of its stomach.

WWF said plastic is one of the greatest threats to marine life and has killed at least five other whales that had ingested large amounts of it over the last two years from Europe to Asia.

READ MORE: Huge trash-collecting boom in Pacific Ocean breaks apart

READ MORE: Canada signs global pact to help rid world’s oceans of abandoned plastic

Another sperm whale died off the Italian island of Ischia, near Naples, last December with plastic bags and a thick nylon thread in its stomach, but plastic was not the cause of death.

The World Wildlife Foundation said between 150,000 and 500,000 tons of plastic objects and 70,000 to 130,000 tons of micro-plastics wind up in Europe’s seas each year.

To combat the phenomenon, the European Parliament last week approved a new law banning a wide range of single-use plastic products, including plates and straws, starting in 2021.

Italy’s environment minister, Sergio Costa, lamented the whale’s death and said he planned to propose a new law this week to limit the use of plastics.

The law will permit fishermen to bring plastics recovered at sea to land for proper disposal, which they currently are barred from doing. Costa also pledged Italy would be one of the first countries to enact the European single-use plastics ban and appealed to the mayors of Italian cities and coastal towns to adopt the ordinances in advance of the 2021 law.

“We have been using disposable plastics in a carefree way in these years, and now we are paying the price,” he said. “The war on disposable plastics has started. And we won’t stop here.”

Colleen Barry, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Teacher says student was ‘happy’ to watch smudging ceremony at Port Alberni school

B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo hearing case over indigenous cultural practice in classroom

Talks between Western Forest Products and union break down

No more negotiations imminent between United Steelworkers 1-1937 and company

ARTS AROUND: ‘Tis the season for Christmas crafts

Mistletoe Market headed to the Rollin Art Centre

Team Jeffries prevails in Port Alberni Ladies Bonspiel

U21 Team Litton from Parksville/Qualicum comes second

School District 70 proposes new school names, asks for public feedback

Board of education suggests new names for the district and two of its schools

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

Four arrested after report of shots fired in Nanaimo

RCMP arrest four suspects in high-risk takedown in Cedar

South Cariboo Driver hits four cows due to fog

The RCMP’s investigation is ongoing

B.C. won’t appeal decision protecting ICBC court experts

Change to evidence rules next to save money, David Eby says

1898 Yukon gold rush photo featuring Greta Thunberg look-alike sends internet into tailspin

Jokes erupted this week after a 120-year-old photo taken by Eric A. Hegg surfaced from archives

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Most Read