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.


Paris Louvre museum reopens Monday after crippling losses

Updated 04 July 2020

Paris Louvre museum reopens Monday after crippling losses

  • The Louvre in Paris has been closed since March 13
  • Among more than 10 million visitors in 2018, almost three-quarters were tourists

PARIS: The Louvre in Paris, the world’s most visited museum and home to the Mona Lisa, reopens on Monday but with coronavirus restrictions in place and parts of the complex closed to visitors.
The Louvre has been closed since March 13 and this has already led “to losses of over 40 million euros,” its director Jean-Luc Martinez said.
Among more than 10 million visitors in 2018, almost three-quarters were tourists.
“We have lost 80 percent of our public. Seventy-five percent of our visitors were foreigners,” Martinez said.
“We will at best see 20 to 30 percent of our numbers recorded last summer — between 4,000 and 10,000 visitors daily at the most,” he said.
Visitors will have to wear masks, there will be no snacks or cloakrooms available and the public will have to follow a guided path through the museum.
Positions have been marked in front of the Mona Lisa — where tourists routinely pose for selfies — to ensure social distancing.
France contributes $112 million to the Louvre’s $222.5 million annual budget and the museum must make up the rest, according to experts.
Seventy percent of the museum’s public areas — or 45,000 square meters (about 485,000 square feet) — will be open to the public.
After the success of its blockbuster Leonardo exhibition which closed earlier this year, the Louvre said its two exhibitions scheduled for spring and then postponed would now take place in the autumn.
These are on Italian sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo and the renaissance German master Albrecht Altdorfer.
The Louvre has upped its virtual presence during the lockdown and said it was now the most followed museum in the world on Instagram with over four million followers.
Martinez is planning a revamp of the museum ahead of 2024, when Paris hosts the Olympic Games.