Clean Up Our Seas says Green Party

5 April 2016

In January and February two sperm whales died on beaches near Hunstanton in Norfolk, despite major efforts by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and several others to save the animals. [1] In total this winter, dozens of sperm whales became stranded on shores around the North Sea and subsequently died.

Recent necropsies (the animal equivalent of autopsies) of 13 of those whales, which died on the north German coast, have shown that the animal's stomachs were filled with plastic debris.

Among items recovered from inside the whales were a 13-metre-long fishing net, a 70cm piece of plastic from a car and other pieces of plastic litter, all of which had been unwittingly ingested by the animals.

Typically the diet for a sperm whale consists of squid and other marine life which they consume by sucking their prey into their mouths. [2]

It has been estimated that well over 4 million metric tons of plastic washes up on shores every year - enough to cover every foot of the world's coastline [3]

Martin Schmierer, a Green Party councillor for Norwich, said:

“Even if plastics weren't the direct cause of these animals’ deaths, this is still a shocking discovery. Swallowing this kind of debris can cause serious problems for marine animals. This news clearly demonstrates that we need to do so much more to move away from our throw-away, plastics-based economy and reduce our destructive impact on the natural world.

He continued:

“The Green Party would introduce incentives for manufacturers to use less plastic packaging, and make sure that polluters pay for the damage they cause.”

ENDS

 

For more information, please contact:

Cllr Martin Schmierer (Deputy leader of the Green Party Group on Norwich City Council) - 07769222249

 

Notes

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-35491621
[2] http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160331-car-parts-plastics-dead-whales-germany-animals/
[3] http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/02/here-s-how-much-plastic-enters-ocean-each-year

For Green Party policies on marine pollution, see MC400-408 on the party’s policy website: https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mc.html






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