JAKARTA: A dead sperm whale that washed ashore in a national park in Indonesia had nearly 6kg of plastic waste in its stomach, park officials say.
Items found included 115 drinking cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags and two flip-flops.
The carcass of the 9.5m (31ft) mammal was found in waters near Kapota Island in the Wakatobi National Park late on Monday.
“Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful,” Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation co-ordinator at WWF Indonesia, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
It was not possible to say whether the plastic had caused the whale’s death because of its advanced state of decay, she added.
The use of throwaway plastic is a particular problem in some South East Asian countries, including Indonesia.
Five Asian nations – China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand – account for up to 60% of the plastic waste that ends up in oceans, according to a 2015 report by environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.