A Dead Whale's Wake-Up Call

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In the morning of May 11, a massive blue whale was found washed ashore on Sea Side Beach Resort in Naic, Cavite.

Discovered by local fishermen, this 15m x 3m blue whale, which looked to be in the late stages of decomposition, immediately captured the attention of nearby communities and beachgoers.

As groups gathered to haul off the dead blue whale, they noticed that its entire body was made of plastic wastes found in the ocean. The slimy innards sprawling out of its’ underbelly was a mix of plastic bags, remains of plastic containers, sachets, bottles and more.

Photos of this morose installation spiraled around social media on the day itself, sparking conversations on plastics pollution—a topic far different from the viral oarfish photos in  different areas of the country that were said to be a sign of the “end of the world”.

THE CASE OF PLASTICS POLLUTION

Just in the first quarter of 2016, already more than 30 dead sperm whales were found washed up in the shores of Europe, with large amounts of plastic waste in their stomachs. Late last year, one of them was found here in Samal, Davao. The reaction of locals was almost baffling as they simply collected the whale’s carcass and transported it to a local museum where they usually display beached sea creatures found in the area.

Though the Philippines has made commitments to address the plastics issue through the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act since 2001, the country still ranks third highest contributor of plastic wastes in the ocean.

TIMELY DEATH OF THE BLUE WHALE

With the Philippines as chair of this year’s ASEAN Summit, Greenpeace Philippines took the opportunity to call upon ASEAN environmental leaders to take concrete measures against plastics pollution and to stop environmental degradation and dying marine life.

“The ASEAN region’s contribution to plastic pollution in the oceans cannot be ignored and is already way beyond alarming. We are asking the ASEAN membership to take this issue with a sense of urgency and demand that our leaders initiate bold steps to address plastics pollution through regional cooperation, exacting corporate responsibility and massive public education,” said Abigail Aguilar, Detox Campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines. 

Beyond initiating talks on plastics pollution in the Summit, environmental influencers and celebrities also joined the conversation by talking about the dead blue whale as the impending doom from plastics pollution predicted to outweigh marine life by 2050.

With this, we ask the public to support our cause, by strongly pledging to #RefusePlastic and telling ASEAN Countries to end the scourge of plastics by signing the petition http://bit.ly/aseanplastic  #RefusePlastic

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