In the month of May, a pilot whale was found washed up on the shores of southern Thailand in critical condition. Five days later, the whale died despite desperate attempts to save his life - it had swallowed 80 plastic bags. In June, a green turtle suffered a similar fate in eastern Thailand. The endangered turtle's intestinal tract was filled with plastic shreds, rubber bands and other rubbish.
Thailand is one of the biggest plastic consumers, with hundreds of marine animals being killed by plastic debris every year. According to a 2015 Ocean Conservancy report, 60 percent of plastic pollution in oceans comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. This equates to roughly eight million tones of plastic each year, with the potential to exceed 200 millions tons by 2025.
As these emerging economies develop, so does their consumption of plastic. Without proper education and waste-management infrastructures in place, unwanted items and packaging are being discarded into the ocean. To curb this practice, collective intervention must be done.
"Coordinated action in just these five countries could significantly reduce the global leakage of plastic waste into the ocean by 2025", the report suggests.