Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has stated that we need to collectively do more to stop plastic pollution entering our rivers, oceans, and our food chain. The Sinn Féin TD was reacting to the news that a sperm whale was found dead in Indonesia with 6kg of plastic in its stomach.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Like most people I was sickened to hear that a sperm whale was found dead in Indonesia with 115 plastic cups and 25 plastic bags in its stomach. The items were part of nearly 6kg of plastic waste discovered in the carcass the whale, when it washed ashore.

“A conservation group said on social media that it had found four plastic bottles and 3.26kg of raffia rope, as well as the plastic bags and cups. The exact cause of the whale’s death is not yet known, but there are clear signs that this plastic waste might have triggered it.

“This happened on a coastline in Indonesia but it could easily have occurred on a beach in Ireland. Plastic and plastic waste is destroying our planet, entering our food chain and killing all of us with its impact on our shared environment.

“Of the 260 million tons of plastic that the world produces every year, about 10% ends up in the Ocean. We have now entered a phase where there are now more plastics than fish in our rivers and oceans.”

Crowe continued:

“Bans on single use plastic can help. Clean up campaigns by citizens and NGOs can help but government actions and approaches need to change.

“Unfortunately there seems to be little urgency from the Irish Government to seriously address this crisis in any meaningful way. Thousands of tons of plastic microbeads from products such as exfoliating face scrubs and toothpastes wash into the sea every year, where they harm marine life, and can ultimately be eaten by people.

“We need to follow other jurisdictions and introduce an outright ban on the manufacture and use of microbead plastics that are engulfing our planet. It is estimated that there are five trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s seas and all that debris has reached even the most remote parts of the oceans.

“Plastic production is expected to double in the next 20 years.  To protect our environment, and to save our animals, our fish, and the mammals in our seas, we need a mind set change, and most importantly, a change in how we use and cherish our limited resources.

“The 6kg of plastic found in the dead sperm whale was sickening, but it should be a spur to adopt a different approach and change our dependence of plastics products.”