Signalled virtue fails to save whale

So how did this happen, then?

A dead sperm whale that washed ashore in a national park in Indonesia had nearly 6kg (13 lbs) of plastic waste in its stomach, park officials say.

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.

I thought carrier bags had been banned from French supermarkets and bars in London no longer provide drinking straws, so how come we have a dead whale in Indonesia? Ah yeah:

Five Asian nations – China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand – account for up to 60% of the plastic waste that ends up in oceans, according to a 2015 report by environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.

Nevertheless:

The European Parliament has voted for a complete ban on a range of single-use plastics across the union in a bid to stop pollution of the oceans.

MEPs backed a ban on plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, straws, drink-stirrers and balloon sticks.

Next up: hosepipe bans in Surrey to prevent drought in Ethiopia.

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19 thoughts on “Signalled virtue fails to save whale

  1. 6kg? Around 1/6000th of the whale’s weight? It’s like you accidentally eating a few cherry stones.

    Not saying it’s good, but 6kg isn’t a horror story

  2. Tell the whale to take it up with the women and the sexual degenerates.

    They’re in charge now.

    The drinking straw ban….brought to you by the same people who want abortion on demand but wont eat meat because life is sacred.

  3. Much as I generally agree, are we abolutely sure about the proportion of that 60% that comes from those five nations, that is our stuff, sent there for safe disposal, which they then just dump into their rivers?

    I just want to make absolutely sure it’s not setting up an ‘ah, gotcha!’ from the Guardianistas.

  4. Thanks for that Jim. I never realised. There must be literally trillions of them in the world’s oceans. Whole floating islands of them. You never see a child without its balloon do you? Bobbing along behind it, on its balloon stick.

  5. The irony being that balloon sticks actually mean that less of the big helium filled foil balloons are bought, because it means you can buy the ordinary balloons and blow them up with air, and still give a kid leaving a party one on a stick to hold, rather than a helium filled one on a string. So if they ban plastic sticks, people will buy helium balloons instead, which apart from the waste of helium, will end up littering the countryside as they inevitably get let go by their recipient and float off into the blue yonder (I find loads of them on my farm, I’m downwind of an urban area).

  6. “Items found included 115 drinking cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags and two flip-flops.”
    A pair of flip-flops? But not the rotting corpse of a lookie-man? One of those guys patrol the world’s tourist beaches insisting on selling you something, whether you want it or not. In this case dodgy lemonade, by the sound of it. Somebody finally lose their temper, big-time? Not surprised.

  7. @S
    I rather think that a lot of it is our stuff sent to the far East for “recycling” because recycling is way expensive. They just take the money and dump it, although I note China has just stopped the practice.
    Overall though about 50% is fishing gear.
    So it would be both greener and cheaper to burn and/or bury the stuff. There’s no end of holes, and you can use it to build sea walls or to raise land.

  8. @Tim “I thought carrier bags had been banned from French supermarkets and bars in London no longer provide drinking straws, so how come we have a dead whale in Indonesia? …

    …Next up: hosepipe bans in Surrey to prevent drought in Ethiopia”

    Who cares if it actually improves anything? It’s the feelz that countz, innit?! 😉

  9. And is there any evidence that the contents of the whale’s stomach were the cause of death?

    Lots of animals, particularly marine animals, swallow their prey whole and regurgitate skin, bones, teeth, and other indigestible parts or evacuate them out the other end. Why are they so flummoxed by non-toxic, non-corrosive small items of plastic?

    The greatest threat to marine life is marine life… they eat each other!

  10. I don’t go with the explanation that this garbage is ours and sent over to China to dump. It sounds too convenient. My wife has the Filipino channel on half the day and I see the flood and typhoon reports regularly. Words can’t describe how much garbage floats everywhere through the flooded areas. It is absolutely stunning to see. Extrapolate that across Asia with close to 2 billion people and you start to see some perspective. This is not our garbage everyone. These countries barely have any management of waste at all, so to blame wealthy countries for killing off whales in Indonesia is nonsense.

  11. @S

    Africa and Asia generally have few garbage collection services, so most of their garbage ends up in streams and rivers thus into the sea. Recent Tsunamis have also sucked lots of floaty stuff back out to sea, and offshore fishermen dump their garbage over the side and probably some ships do too.

    A lot of the plastic is from fishing: nets, lines, lobster and crab pots, containers, wrapping, floats.

    It is therefore unlikely that that plastic is from Europe.

  12. Friend of mine used to live in Bali, he said everything without fail ends up in the local river. There is (or was when he lived there c. a decade ago) no sewerage or waste disposal systems. And Bali is probably one of the more developed bits…….

  13. “I thought carrier bags had been banned from French supermarkets and bars in London no longer provide drinking straws, so how come we have a dead whale in Indonesia?”

    It’s the same with coal burning, its outlawed in energy expensive Europe and rampant and rising in cheap energy Asia, which, just say you believed in it, makes a mockery of reducing man made global warming, unless there is a hard border in the clouds.

  14. Two flip flops
    OK, let’s get to the bottom of this …

    Were they a left and right pair and were they a matching pair (size, colour, style etc.)?

    If so, what happened to the wearer of the flip flops?

    One for the “you couldn’t make it up” files, eh?

  15. My opinion:

    Fish dies: and?

    EU, Gove, Perry, May et al – plastic waste: landfill or burn it. Plastic is great: light, strong, versatile; reduces “food waste”…

    Now, do your job and act to make us richer, not poorer. You know, support ambition and wealth creation for all.

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