Researchers in Norway have reportedly discovered a whale with over 30 plastic bags and several other pieces of plastic waste in its stomach.
According to The Daily Mail, wardens on the western coast of the country put down the whale after finding it severely ill and stranded in shallow waters.
Researchers proceeded to dissect the animal and found an alarming amount of non-biodegradable waste in its stomach.
Warning – the images below are not for the faint of heart.
According to zoologist Dr. Terje Lislevand, “the whale’s stomach was full of plastic bags and packaging with labels in Danish and English.”
He added that the whale’s intestines were likely so blocked up by the plastic that it resulted in severe pain.
“The findings are not surprising,” remarked Dr. Lislevand. “But clearly it is sad to discover such large quantities.”
According to Daily Sabah, the whale’s blubber was very thin, suggesting it was malnourished.
The outlet also reports that the growing amount of plastic waste in the earth’s water is presenting an increasingly severe problem for marine animals, fish and birds that inhabit those areas.
To hit home the severity of the problem, the World Economic Forum reports that a whopping eight million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean every single year.
According to Science Mag, it took half a century for scientists to figure out that number – and things aren’t looking good going forward. Researchers predict that the amount of plastic waste that makes its way to large bodies of water in the next decade will double.
To learn more, check out the video below.