A dead whale that washed ashore in eastern Indonesia had a large lump of plastic waste in its stomach, including drinking cups and flip-flops, a park official said Tuesday, causing concern among environmentalists and government officials in one of the world’s largest plastic polluting countries.
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.
The discovery has caused consternation among environmentalists.
“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.
In a tweet, WWF Indonesia gave the breakdown of what was found inside the animal:
“Hard plastic (19 pieces, 140g), plastic bottles (4 pieces, 150g), plastic bags (25 pieces, 260g), flip-flops (2 pieces, 270g), pieces of string (3.26kg) & plastic cups (115 pieces, 750g).”