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In Thailand, the whale ate 80 plastic bags and died

08 June 2018

A pilot whale found in a canal in Thailand has died after a five-day rescue effort - victim of the millions of tonnes of plastic dumped in the ocean each year.

The government held an event with a group of private businesses at a Bangkok shopping mall on Tuesday-the UN World Environment Day. After being found near the Malaysia border, the pilot whale was treated by veterinarians while kept afloat by buoys and protected from harmful solar radiation by umbrellas.

According to biologists and scientists, whales mistake plastic bags for food, making them feel full and reducing its instinct to feed.

Vets rescued the mammal and spent the next five days trying to nurse it back to health but he finally died on Friday after vomiting up plastic bags all week. "At some point their stomach fills up with trash and they can't eat real food", Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director for Whale and Dolphin Conservation's North American operations, told National Geographic.

"We use way too much plastic".

The necropsy revealed a tragedy: the pilot whale had consumed more than 17 pounds (7.7 kilograms) of plastic.

"We are facing a serious crisis", he said.

Although the U.S.is withdrawing from several United Nations pacts and organizations, including the Paris Climate Agreement, UNESCO, and the Global Compact on Migration, the US government appears to be on board to clean up the oceans, Falk reported in December.

About 18 billion pounds of plastic are dumped into oceans each year, while more than 300 marine animal species are known to have been killed by plastic pollution in Thailand's waters.

Solheim was ultimately optimistic, telling CBS News "the solutions are straightforward: There are plenty of natural alternatives to plastics beads in toothpaste or face scrub ..."

"It's a simple case of changing our habits, and stopping plastics from entering the ocean in the first place", he said.

"This is an environmental disaster caused by laziness that is easily fixed by a healthy dose of innovation and political will".

In Thailand, the whale ate 80 plastic bags and died