On Monday, a dead whale floated ashore in eastern Indonesia with its stomach full of plastic junk, including 115 plastic cups and two pairs of flip-flops. "It's probably a question of government leading the way to ensure that we don't take the easy way out to use something that is that disposable and harmful to the environment but make wise choices for the future".
KARTIKA SUMOLANG/via REUTERS A stranded whale with plastic in his belly is seen in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, November 19, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media.
The 9.5-metre (31.17 ft) whale was found in waters near Kapota Island, part of the Wakatobi National Park, south east of Sulawesi, the park said in a statement. Indonesia has one of the largest plastic pollution problems in the world. There were more than 1,000 individual pieces of plastic including four bottles, 115 cups, a sack, and 25 single use carrier bags.
Researchers found 6 kg of plastic in the animal's stomach.
Plastics bags are believed to kill hundreds of marine animals there each year. Between 55 to 60 per cent of the plastics that enter our oceans come from this rapidly developing region, according to a 2017 report from Ocean Conservancy.
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Around the world, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste gets dumped in our seas every year, causing countless marine animals to suffer from either becoming entangled in the material or ingesting it, which leads to suffocation or starvation.
"I'm so sad to hear this", said Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who has campaigned for a reduction in the usage of plastic. However, on the demand side, only 5 million tons are expected so far, demonstrating that more will be needed to achieve the objective of a well-functioning European Union market of recycled plastics.
The thing is, it is very hard for marine life to distinguish the difference between a small piece of plastic or food. "Some of them are washing ashore with huge amounts of plastic", Trites said.
"This big ambition can be achieved if people learn to understand that plastic waste is a common enemy", he told AP.