Scientists have discovered 29 kilos of plastic in the stomach of a sperm whale, which appeared on the southern coast of Spain in February.
During an autopsy of the 10-meter-long male whale, experts from the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Center discovered plastic bags, a drum and several pieces of rope and net.
After a full examination, experts agreed that the sperm whale had died because it could not eject the plastic it had swallowed.
Theorized that the blockage in the whale's digestive system caused an infection of the abdomen, called peritonitis, which ultimately resulted in the death of the mammal.
As surprising as the discovery is, it really is not. When more than 8 million tons of plastic enter the world's oceans every year, it is no coincidence that 29 kilos appear in the stomach of a sperm whale.
#MedioAmbiente launches a # campaign to raise awareness about the danger of the #basurasmarinas for the #Fauna Example: The necropsy of a #Cachalote beached 🐋 detect in his digestive tract 29 kg of garbage 😢 #StopBasurasMarinas # Awareness ♻️ + inf: https://t.co/mLjhNreLlx pic .twitter.com / dqejUXFkWS
– EspaciosNaturalesMur (@EspNaturalesMur) April 4, 2018
From the results of the autopsy, the death of the whale has prompted the government of Murcia to launch an awareness campaign about the dangers of single-use plastics.
"The presence of plastics in seas and oceans" is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of wildlife throughout the world, as many animals are trapped in the trash or ingest large amounts of plastics that end up causing their death ", said Consuelo Rosauro, general director of the environment in the Murcian government.
" The region of Murcia is no stranger to this problem, which we must address through sanitation actions and, above all, the citizen awareness. "
Just a month ago, a scientific team reported that 79,000 tons of plastic debris now occupies an area in the Pacific Ocean approximately three times larger than France.
By 2050, it is predicted that there will be more plastic that fish in our oceans.
Considering these facts, it should come as no surprise that the sperm whale from Murcia has good company.There are innumerable examples of whales that and wash on the beach with stomachs full of plastic, plastic that can contain toxic substances such as heavy metals.
But thanks to David Attenborough, humans are beginning to pay attention. Images of the show Blue Planet II that featured a calf dying of plastic pollution, has encouraged many to give up single-use plastics, including the Queen of England, the Scottish Parliament and the BBC.  As the voice of the series, Attenborough warned viewers that "unless the flow of plastics to the world's oceans is reduced, marine life will be poisoned by them for many centuries."
And the good news is, the war against single-use plastics is working.
A recent report of the measures of the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (Cephas) to reduce the use of plastic has a direct impact on ocean ecosystems.
For example, charges on plastic bags in supermarkets have led to an 80 percent drop in the use of plastic bags in England.
"It is heartening to see the efforts of the entire society, be it the public, the industry, the NGOs or the government to reduce the plastic bags having an effect," Dr. Thomas Maes, a Cessna marine litter scientist and lead author of the report, said The Independent.
If humans, corporations and governments can continue to mobilize around environmental issues such as single-use plastics, the future of ocean ecosystems could turn from gloomy to hopeful.