A sperm whale that died after running aground on Harris Island in Scotland had 100 kilograms of litter in its stomach.
Fishing nets, ropes, bags and plastic cups were among the waste.
According to whale experts, it is unclear whether the debris contributed to the animal's death.
The whale carcass was found by residents on Seilebost Beach last Thursday.
"It was extremely sad, especially when fishing nets and debris were coming out of her stomach," said Dan Parry, who lives on the nearby beach of Luskentyre.
"We walk on these beaches almost every day and always carry a bag to collect trash, mostly related to fishing."
According to him, the incident is clear evidence of the wider problem of marine pollution.
"This material could easily be in a network or get lost in a storm, we just don't know, but it shows the extent of the problem we have with marine pollution," he adds.
A team from Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, a Scottish organization that investigates whale and dolphin deaths, dissected the animal to try to determine the cause of death.
"The animal was not particularly in poor condition, and while it is certainly plausible that this amount of debris was a factor in running aground, we could not actually find evidence that it affected or obstructed its intestines," says a publication from Smass on the group's Facebook page.
"However, having this amount of plastic in the stomach is terrible, it must have compromised digestion and is once again demonstrating the dangers that ocean waste and lost or discarded fishing equipment can pose to marine life."
Grows Number of Beaches
Waste is believed to come from both land and the fishing industry.
Crews from the Coast Guard and the Western Isles Council, which runs the western Isles of Scotland, helped examine the whale on Saturday and dug a giant hole in the beach sand to bury the animal.
According to data from Smass, the number of whale and dolphin strandings in Scotland is increasing.
There were 204 occurrences in 2009, compared with over 930 in 2018.
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