In Thailand, the whale ate 80 plastic bags and died

In Thailand, the whale ate 80 plastic bags and died

In Thailand, the whale ate 80 plastic bags and died

An autopsy found the bags and other plastic items in the whale's stomach.

Vets removed more than 80 plastic carrier bags as well as crisp packets and sweet wrappers from the whale's stomach - and are now using the whale as an example of the damaging effect of plastic pollution while calling on authorities to find alternatives.

According to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), the whale began heaving out pieces of plastic bags before dying on Friday.

The whale was seen along the coast of southern Thailand in Songkhla Province on May 28th appearing ill and unable to swim.

Thailand remains one of the world's worst polluters, with government initiatives to convince people to use less plastic largely failing, they said.

Peter Thomson, the U.N. Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, told CBS News, "there is no quick fix to this big problem and many processes and methods will be required to correct the wrongs that we have brought upon the ocean with our plastic plague".

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A Thai marine official said the pilot whale, which mostly feeds on squid, probably thought the floating bags were food.

From street vendors selling satay to shop clerks putting purchases into multiple bags, Thais use a huge amount of plastic.

"At the current rate, we'll end up with more plastic in the oceans than fish by the middle of the century, and ultimately that comes back to our own food chain", U.N. Environment Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Erik Solheim, told CBS News' Pamela Falk. Kenya a year ago enacted the world's toughest law against plastic bags.

Plastic pollution of killing thousands of marine animals every year.

"But people haven't really cared to change their behaviour despite being aware of the damage", Thon said. "We have no idea how many animals aren't showing up on a beach", Asmutis-Silvia said.

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