Researchers have discovered more than 30 plastic bags inside the stomach of a dead whale, which likely blocked its intestines and led to it becoming stranded several times in shallow waters off the coast of Norway.
The scientists described the mass of human-produced refuge lodged in the whale’s stomach as “not surprising” given the amount of plastic littering the Earth’s waters.
The emaciated Cuvier’s goose-beaked whale had been in pain due to its intestinal blockage, according to scientists from the University of Bergen, who had to put it down after it continually became stranded.
The waste discovered included plastic bags and packaging from the UK and Denmark.
“The findings are not surprising,” said Zoologist Dr Lislevand Lislevand. “But clearly it is sad to discover such large quantities.”
"I'm afraid to estimate how long it could have taken before the stomach was totally full," he added.
It is common for plastic waste to be found in the bodies of dead sea creatures. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.