Imagine you’re taking a day to relax on the beach. There’s a warm, gentle breeze rustling your voluminous, freshly-washed hair –you pretty much look like a super model. You reach for a chip and hear the crinkle of cellophane mixing with the hypnotic sounds of the surf crash against the beach. As the sun presses down on your oiled bronzing skin, you grab your water bottle feel the cool plastic, slick from perspiration, beneath your palm as you take a swig of the ice cold water. Now imagine a 37-foot sperm whale washing up dead at your feet on the beach. Back to reality . . .
A juvenile sperm whale recently washed up dead on a beach of the Davao Gulf just outside of a resort in Samal, located in the Philippines. The autopsy revealed that the whale had, “large amounts of plastic trash, fishing nets, hooks and even a piece of coco lumber in its stomach,” and experts believe the cause of death for this majestic creature was choking on plastic. Seems a little crazy that such a mammoth whale could be taken down by plastic, but this is not the first time this has happened. Of the 54 whale deaths that have been reported in the Davao Gulf, only four of them can be attributed to natural causes. That means that 50 whales have died because of human industry and pollution. This is unacceptable, but how do we stop these senseless deaths?
So think back to your fictional day on the beach. Did you know that 18,000 tons of shampoo bottles are thrown out every year? Or that 40 billion plastic bottles end up in landfill every year. We generate around 8.8 million tons of plastic waste annually and only 15 percent of it is recycled – the majority of it makes it back into our oceans. From there it makes it into the stomachs and throats of marine life like the young sperm whale in this picture. Plastic pollution chokes, cuts, and entangles marine life and is currently endangering 700 different species with extinction around the world. So the next time you’re fantasizing about your perfect day, cut disposable plastics out of the picture, and while you’re at it – cut them out of your real life as well. Join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign to learn about how you can stop plastic pollution at the source. Stop daydreaming about saving the world and start doing it.