Beached whale had 30 plastic bags in its stomach

Throughout the week the 20-foot-long adult male repeatedly swam into the shallow waters off the island of Sotra west of Bergen.

But Hal Whitehead, a whale researcher with Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, cautioned that "the plastic debris in their stomachs is a frightful indictment of humans".

'The findings are not surprising, ' Dr Lislevand continued, 'but clearly it is sad to discover such large quantities'.

"The (whale's) stomach was full of plastic", Lislevand said, adding that its intestine "had no food, only some remnants of a squid's head in addition to a thin fat layer".

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The beaked whale was also emaciated and had very little blubber - suggesting that they were badly malnourished.

Terje Lislevand of the Bergen University says the visibly sick, 2-ton goose-beaked whale was euthanized.

Vets from the University of Bergen said the bags would have blocked its digestive system, causing the animal considerable pain.

Wardens made a decision to put the creature out of its misery after realising it was unlikely to survive as it ate so much waste it became malnourished. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

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An estimated 100 billion carrier bags are used every year in Europe - with 8 billion ending up as litter.

Meanwhile, Plastic Change, an environmental organisation that campaigns against plastic pollution, predicts these numbers could double in the next decade if there is not significant action against plastic pollution in the ocean.

The plastic - as well as candy wrappers, smaller bread bags and other garbage- was discovered during the necropsy.

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(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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