Early this year, 13 sperm whales washed up on the shores of Germany. This was the latest in a series of whale stranding around the North Sea. So far, more than 30 sperm whales have been found beached since the start of the year in the Netherlands, France, Germany Denmark and the U.K.

Sperm Whales

The most shocking part of all of this is what was found inside these whales. After a necropsy of the whales, researchers found large amounts of plastic waste in their stomachs. The garbage included a plastic car engine cover, a 43 foot fishing net and smaller plastic waste items. Lots of marine animals, including whales and dolphins, ingest marine litter. This occurs either accidentally or because they mistake the trash for prey and it can cause physical damage to their digestive systems. The trash may eventually give the animals the sensation of being full and reduce their instinct to feed, leading to malnutrition.

It is so sad to think of these beautiful creatures being killed by our human waste. It is so important that we consider just how our trash effects our earth and the other animals we share it with.

What are you doing to reduce your waste?