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Dead whale found with 88 pounds of plastic pollution in stomach

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Experts say, not only would the world look a lot different but the recycling industry could add billions of dollars to the global economy.
USA TODAY

A whale found in the Philippines died because it had eaten 88 pounds of plastic trash, scientists report.

The D’Bone Collector Museum, a non-governmental organization that collects and preserves deceased animals, found the dead 15.4-foot whale on Saturday. A necropsy revealed its stomach was packed with multiple shopping bags, 16 rice sacks and four banana plantation-style bags.

Because of the sheer mass of plastic in its stomach, the whale couldn’t get the nutrients it needed to survive and ultimately died of “dehydration and starvation,” Darrell Blatchley, owner of the D’Bone Collector Museum, told USA TODAY in a statement. The whale appeared to have vomited blood before it died.   

Blatchley said that some of the plastic trash had been in the whale’s system for so long, it was calcified. He called it the worst case of plastic ingestion he’d ever seen. 

The Philippines-based museum called on its government officials, saying “actions must be taken,” to keep waterways and oceans clean. 

Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem, as 90.5 percent of plastic is not recycled and millions of metric tons a year pour into the planet’s oceans. 

More: 6 things you can do to stop plastic pollution today

More: What would happen if everyone recycled?

More: The worst types of litter

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

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