SCOTLAND, UK — 220 pounds.
That’s roughly the weight of your average NFL linebacker.
That also happens to be how much trash was discovered inside a young sperm whale found stranded last week on a Scottish beach.
According to an organization that tracks beached animals around Scotland, a routine necropsy revealed what the whale had been living with for ‘some time.' In a Facebook post, Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme said pieces of fishing nets, bundles of rope and rubber tubing combined with all sorts of plastic – gloves, bags, cups and packing straps – to create a huge ball of garbage in the whale’s gut.
The organization said, surprisingly, the whale “wasn’t in particularly poor condition.” Marine biologists didn’t find any evidence that the garbage ball was blocking its digestive tract – or was a direct cause of the stranding. They do think the whale swallowed the trash somewhere between Norway and the Azores. Some of it came from discarded fishing equipment. Some of it came from land
Dan Parry runs a Facebook group for people committed to cleaning up Scottish beaches. He told CNN, "Debris in our oceans is everyone's problem - the fishing industry [needs] to do better, but equally, we all need to do more.”
And there is a lot more to do.
USA Today reports that more than 90 percent of plastic is not recycled, and millions of tons end up in the oceans each year.
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