Rhodes: the whale died from 15 kg of plastic in the stomach

A beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) was found dead on Kremasti Beach on the island of Rhodes on Monday, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources said on Wednesday.

The first autopsy showed that the 5.3-meter-long mammal had ingested more than 15 kg of plastic waste, leading to its death. Veterinarians and marine biologists collected animal samples and sent them to the Veterinary School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

“Beaked whales and other whales often ingest plastic and as a result suffer long-term adverse health effects and often die from it,” said Professor Anastasia Komninou, who led the autopsy. “In this case, the large amount of plastic found in the whale’s stomach prevented it from properly digesting food, leading to cachexia* and death,” she added.

Deputy Environment Minister Giorgos Amiras said the problem of plastic “is being seriously felt in the Mediterranean Sea, which is considered one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the world.”

*(Cachexia (other Greek κακός – bad, ἕξις – condition; obsolete. “thin”) – this is an extreme depletion of the body, which is characterized by general weakness, a sharp decrease in weight and activity of physiological processes, as well as a change in the mental state of the patient who is not actively trying to lose weight .

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