Elephant killed from eating plastic waste
Plastic pollution is an environmental disaster. Plastic ingestion has been found among tiny shrimp in six of the world’s deepest ocean trenches to the largest land mammal. This week a wild elephant dies from eating plastic.
A male Asian elephant weighing about 3.5 tonnes and aged at around 20 tragically died in Khao Khitchakut National Park in Chanthaburi province, Thailand. An autopsy found the cause of death to have been plastic bags and other plastic waste. These items caused a blockage and infection in the elephant’s intestines and stomach, causing its death. Unlike humans, wildlife is unable to always distinguish between what’s edible and what’s not.
“How many wild animals need to die in order to raise the conscience of some people?” Varawut Silpa-archa, the country’s minister of Natural Resources and Environment, exclaimed in a Facebook post.
It is thought that the elephant consumed plastic waste left behind from visitors who had come to admire the park’s natural beauty and wildlife.
The Thai government launched a “Say No” to a plastic bag campaign, banning the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide since January 2020. The ministry said the campaign was put in place to reduce the disposal of 3.75 billion plastic bags per month in Thailand. Its success has brought Thailand into a better position from 6th to 10th of the world’s largest plastic waste distributors to the sea.
“People are still being deaf to our campaign,” Varawut Silpa-archa said. “We have found the loss of other animals caused by the plastic bags, with the latest case of the poor wild jumbo. Please help us by not leaving any plastic waste inside the park.”
This tragic death must act as a wake-up call on the impact of littering plastic on the wildlife that inhabits our natural world.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post