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30 kg of plastic bags killed whale washed ashore on Santorini

More than 30 kg of plastic, mainly plastic bags, were found in the stomach of the whale that was washed out on the island of Santorini last week. The conducted autopsy showed that the huge mammal died of a gastric shock. The whale was unable to digest or excrete the rubbish through its digestive system. The problem caused peritonitis inflammation in its intestines that led to the animal’s death, local media report.

The dead whale brings back to the spotlight the problem of tonnes of plastic landing into the waters, polluting the environment and leading to death of marine life.

The body of the 9-meter long sperm whale  – or Physeter macrocephalus as the scientific name is –  was washed ashore on Akrotiri area on the island of Santorini in the Aegean island group of Cyclades on April 10th. The body weighting more than 7 tones was in condition of advanced sepsis.

The whale body was discovered by a local diver who happened to be in the area.

Two days later, the carcass was removed with the help of a small local ferry and a crane. The operation was difficult as the heavy body was at risk of dissolving due to the heavy weight and the advanced decay.


Part of the body was buried, the rest was taken for autopsy to determine the causes of the death.

Depending on the whales size, social structure, environment, species and type (baleen or toothed) whale diet can change drastically from small aquatic life forms such as fish, shrimp, larvae, plankton, crabs, krill and squid to large marine mammals such as sea lions, walruses and others.

One common technique marine mammals use is known as filter feeding in which these large animals swim around with their mouths open and filter food through their baleen bristles.

The baleen bristles act like a filter by allowing water to escape while being packed tightly enough to prevent their prey from getting out.

Some whales like the grey whales consistently eat from the bottom of the ocean.

Whales can be poisoned by swallowing litter, such as plastic bags.


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  1. There is no excuse for not taking reusable plastic or cloth bags to the supermarket; it is just LAZINESS. Pharmacies, gift shops, perípteros, etc. also do not need to give a plastic bag for a small item or box of medicine. Just put it into your purse, knapsack, or pocket. Only uncultured pigs throw plastic bags onto the street, into rivers or the sea. Recycle them or at least use them for garbage. Kenya has apparently eliminated the bags. Any other country, state or city can do it. Some supermarkets give you points or a small discount for bringing your own bags. To h-ll with the plastic transformation industry. Let them make some other reusable item of plastic instead of bags.

  2. This is so sad and so unecessary! We must all stop using so much plastic now. Any plastic that is necessary must be recycled. This whale will be just one of millions of marine animals affected in the same way because of the greed, selfishness and laziness of us humans. Attitudes acrosss the world need to change drastically before it is too late.
    And yes, take a reusable bag shopping – we don’t need plastic bags at all. Stop chucking your plastic bottles etc out of your car window

  3. Companies should be banned from producing “soft drinks” in plastic bottles. The population, in general, is too damn lazy to think about the consequences of their actions.
    This should be taught in school that its not OK to throw away rubbish, especially plastic rubbish.

  4. Don’t forget that plastics also come from boats and are blown about by the wind. I agree with the other posters about reducing and properly recycling and reusing. We pay for bags here and have for some time. I only buy them for garbage. The whale that washed up in Spain also had a jerry can and those plastic beer rings in its stomach.

    We need to cut down on plastic altogether.