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Whale dies after 80 plastic bags found crammed in its stomach

Whale dies after 80 plastic bags found crammed in its stomach

An autopsy revealed 80 plastic bags weighing up to 8kg (18lb) in the creature's stomach, the veterinary team said.

The whale was described as "emaciated" and had struggled to eat because its stomach was so full of plastic.

Each year millions of tons of plastic waste, including bottles, bags and packaging materials, are dumped into the ocean, threatening marine life and upsetting the ecology.

Thailand is a major user of plastic bags and its government last month announced it was considering a levy on them. But on June 1, the whale vomited five plastic bags and later died, the Marine and Coastal Resources Department said on its website.

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A handout photo made available by ThaiWhales.org on 03 June 2018 shows the total 80 pieces of plastic bags were found in a stomach of a short-finned pilot whale after an autopsy in Songkhla province, southern Thailand, on Friday.

Like a lot of people all over the world, Thais use a large number of plastic bags despite environmentalists and veterinarians warning us that if we don't curb our plastic addiction, we can only expect to see more death and destruction. Kenya past year enacted the world's toughest law against plastic bags.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist and lecturer at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, told Agence France-Presse that the plastic probably prevented the whale from digesting food.

The dead whale is likely to have been the short-finned species of pilot whale, which have been nicked named the "cheetahs of the sea" due to their high-speed pursuits of squid.