The whale was found with heaps of plastic in its stomach. Photo: YouTube

The problem of plastic items filling the world’s oceans was shockingly highlighted on Monday when a dead whale was found in Indonesia with a large amount of plastic in its stomach.

On Monday, Wakatobi national park officials found the body of a 9.5-meter sperm whale in Southeast Sulawesi, the Associated Press reported. Wakatobi park chief Heri Santoso said World Wide Fund (WWF) researchers showed up at the scene and found 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in the dead whale’s stomach.

The waste included 115 plastic cups, 25 plastic bags, four plastic bottles, flip-flops and other various forms of plastic. Before the researchers arrived, local villagers initially found the carcass and started opening the body.

WWF marine species specialist Dwi Suprapti said while the cause of death had yet to be discovered, the discovery was truly awful.

Indonesian coordinating minister of maritime affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the incident should raise awareness about the country’s alarming plastic waste problem.

With the world’s fourth-largest population, Indonesia is the second-most contributing plastic polluter behind China. It is estimated that about 1.92 million tons of plastic from Indonesia is discharged into the sea every year.

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