Plastic bags threaten whales

Jellyfish look-a-likes

A scientist found more than 10 pounds of plastic inside a rare juvenile whale that washed up on a Puerto Rico shore earlier this month, according to media reports.

The 15-foot female Gervais’ beaked whale apparently starved to death after a blockage was created in its stomach by plastic bags, which whales often mistake for jellyfish. Another beaked whale died in February after ingesting a single plastic shopping bag that caused her organs to shut down due to the harmful chemicals in the plastic. Last year, a gray whale washed ashore near Seattle; an autopsy revealed a stomach mass containing 20 plastic bags, towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, a golf ball and other items.

An estimated 260 million tons of plastic are created in the world annually, according to an article published in Scientific American earlier this year.