13 sperm whales were found dead this year off the coast of the North Sea (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany). When scientists began to study them, they found inside their stomachs something very disturbing.
Inside the mammalian gastrointestinal tract, they found large amounts of waste plastic including thirteen meter long fishing nets, plastic buckets and car hoods! Sperm whales are huge animals that easily swallow such big items.
It was estimated that the dead juveniles were between the ages of 10 and 15. The cause of deaths were heart failure, and even if the absorption of waste was not a direct cause of death, it is a huge threat to them. The mammals swallow objects in the depths, because they think it’s their food. The accumulation of waste causes colossal damage to the stomach. A large amount of debris also provides them with a false feeling of fullness, so they aren’t able to acquire food.
It was estimated that the world ocean (all marine waters on the surface of the Earth) has about 269,000 tons of rubbish floating in it! This is mostly plastic waste from densely populated coastal areas and ships navigating the open waters.