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

Economic inequality, immigration still need work in Victoria: Prosperity index

Housing, environmental health factors show improvements in 2019: report

Victoria City Councillor Laurel Collins wins federal NDP nomination

Collins will run for Victoria in the upcoming federal election

WATCH: Soon-to-be guide dogs take part in the Amazing Puppy Race

10 puppies training to be guide dogs took part in a social Easter egg hunt

Victoria church bells toll in solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire

Churches around the globe ring bells to honour iconic Paris cathedral

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Most Read