Yet again, another sperm whale has washed ashore. This time, the mammal was pregnant. An autopsy revealed that the whale’s stomach was stuffed with 23 kilograms (50 pounds) of plastic. Unless the public hopes to read more stories like this one, action needs to be taken on an individual and collective level.

CNN reports that sperm whale washed up dead in Sardinia, Italy. Her stomach was stuffed with undigested plastic. Reportedly, the news arrives just weeks after a male Cuvier’s beaked whale was discovered dead in the Philippines. That unfortunate mammal had swallowed 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of plastic trash.

Credit: SEAME / Facebook

An assortment of rubbish was found in the female whale’s stomach. Fishing nets, lines, plastic bags, tubes, and other unidentifiable objects were all discovered during the autopsy. The garbage is believed to have killed the mother and her calf. However, an official cause of death has not yet been determined.

Luca Bittau, president of the SeaMe group told CNN: “She was pregnant and had almost certainly aborted before (she) beached. The fetus was in an advanced state of decomposition.”

The female sperm whale measured 8 meters (26 feet) in length and was found in a popular tourist destination. Following the discovery, Sergio Costa, Italy’s environment minister, wrote in a Facebook post:

“Are there still people who say these are not important problems? For me, they are priorities. We have used the ‘comfort’ of disposable objects in a carefree way these past years and today we are paying the consequences. Indeed, the animals are paying especially.”

Questo capodoglio è stato trovato morto a Porto Cervo in Sardegna: nella pancia aveva un feto e 22kg di plastica… C'è…

Posted by Sergio Costa on Sunday, March 31, 2019

His attitude is a stark contrast from US President Donald Trump’s, who believes that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. Despite the protests of climate scientists around the world, the United States of America has yet to invest in any real efforts to combat the disastrous effects of global warming. This is unfortunate, considering the developed nation produces the most carbon emissions each year, second only to China.

The United States also produces a startling amount of trash, most of which is tossed into landfills. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 80 percent of all garbage makes its way to the oceans. Eventually, it collects in giant convergences. If it isn’t consumed by wildlife, such as the sperm whale, the rubbish breaks down into micro-particles which contaminate the environment and any predators who eat marine life (including humans). Clearly, action must be taken on an individual and collective level to remedy this travesty. 

PORTO CERVO, 28 marzo 2019. Oggi abbiamo lavorato tutto il giorno per lo spiaggiamento di un capodoglio di circa 6 metri…

Posted by SEAME Sardinia on Thursday, March 28, 2019

As IFLScience reports, sperm whales are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) notes marine debris as one of the main threats to sperm whales, along with ocean noise, vessel strikes, entanglement, oil spills, and climate change.

“The disposable plastic war has begun,” said Sergio Costa. “And we won’t stop here.”

h/t CNN, IFLScience