Dead whale in Philippines had 40 kg of plastic in stomach

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In this photo taken on March 16, 2019, Darrell Blatchley, director of D' Bone Collector Museum Inc., shows plastic waste found in the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale in Compostela Valley, Davao on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. (AFP)
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In this photo taken on March 16, 2019, Darrell Blatchley, director of D' Bone Collector Museum Inc., shows plastic waste found in the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale in Compostela Valley, Davao on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. (AFP)
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In this photo taken Tuesday, March 12, 2019, provided by The Marine Mammal Center, experts from the center and its partners at the California Academy of Sciences attempt to pull a gray whale carcass from the edge of the surf at Angel Island State Park, Calif. (AP)
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In this photo taken Tuesday, March 12, 2019, provided by The Marine Mammal Center, a gray whale carcass is examined by experts from the center and its partners with the California Academy of Sciences at Angel Island State Park, Calif. (AP)
Updated 20 March 2019

Dead whale in Philippines had 40 kg of plastic in stomach

  • The animal died from starvation and was unable to eat because of the trash filling its stomach, said Darrell Blatchley, director of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc.

MANILA: A starving whale with 40 kilos (88 pounds) of plastic trash in its stomach has died after being washed ashore in the Philippines, activists said Monday, calling it one of the worst cases of poisoning they have seen.
Environmental groups have tagged the Philippines as one of the world’s biggest ocean polluters due to its reliance on single-use plastic.
That sort of pollution, which is also widespread in other southeast Asian nations, regularly kills wildlife like whales and turtles that ingest the waste.
In the latest case, a Cuvier’s beaked whale died on Saturday in the southern province of Compostela Valley where it was stranded a day earlier, the government’s regional fisheries bureau said.
The agency and an environmental group performed a necropsy on the animal and found about 40 kilograms of plastic, including grocery bags and rice sacks.
The animal died from starvation and was unable to eat because of the trash filling its stomach, said Darrell Blatchley, director of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc., which helped conduct the examination.
“It’s very disgusting and heartbreaking,” he told AFP. “We’ve done necropsies on 61 dolphins and whales in the last 10 years and this is one of the biggest (amounts of plastic) we’ve seen.”
The 15.4-foot (4.7-meter) long whale was stranded in Mabini town on Friday where local officials and fishermen tried to release it, only for the creature to return to shallow water, said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
“It could not swim on its own, emaciated and weak,” regional bureau director Fatma Idris told AFP.
“(The) animal was dehydrated. On the second day it struggled and vomited blood.”
The death comes just weeks after the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative released a report on the “shocking” amount of single-use plastic in the Philippines, including nearly 60 billion sachets a year.

The Philippines has strict laws on garbage disposal but environmentalists say these are poorly implemented.
The problem also plagues the archipelago’s neighbors, with a sperm whale dying in Indonesia last year with nearly six kilograms of plastic waste discovered in its stomach.
In Thailand, a whale also died last year after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags. A green turtle, a protected species, suffered the same fate there in 2018.


‘King of the road’ rules again as Philippines eases coronavirus lockdown

Updated 03 July 2020

‘King of the road’ rules again as Philippines eases coronavirus lockdown

  • Just 6,000 jeepneys back in business, operating at half capacity under strict social distancing rules
  • First jeepneys were surplus army jeeps left behind by the US military after World War Two

MANILA: Thousands of jeepneys, flamboyantly decorated jeeps that serve as cheap public transport across the Philippines, were back on the streets of Manila on Friday, bringing relief to companies and commuters who have struggled with coronavirus curbs.
Dubbed “the king of the road,” an estimated 55,000 of these large, multi-colored trucks, used to crawl through Manila’s gridlocked roads on a typical day before being forced to a halt 15 weeks ago when the government imposed a coronavirus lockdown.
Just 6,000 were back in business on Friday, operating at half capacity under strict social distancing rules. In pre-pandemic times, jeepneys routinely carried up to 15 passengers who sat knee-to-knee on twin benches in the windowless vehicles, choked by exhaust fumes.
“I’m very happy we are now back on the road. This is our only source of income,” said driver Celo Cabangon, whose truck is decorated with Japanese and Philippine flags, Bible verses and the logo of US sci-fi film “Transformers.”
Under the new rules, passengers must also undergo temperature checks before boarding and shield themselves from one another with face masks and plastic sheets. The Philippines has recorded 40,000 coronavirus cases, and 1,280 deaths.
Commuter Alejandra Carable welcomed the jeepney’s return. “Our expenses are too much without jeepneys. We can save much more now that the jeepneys are back.”
A jeepney fare is typically about 9 pesos ($0.18), cheaper than trains, taxis or motorized tricycles, which were allowed back on the road a month ago when authorities started easing one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.
A phased return to work has been chaotic without jeepneys, with commuters stranded and some companies unable to provide sufficient private transport.
The first jeepneys were surplus army jeeps left behind by the US military after World War Two. Most are festooned with religious slogans or horoscope signs and are in poor shape.