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Plastic soup

Earlier this year, 13 adolescent male sperm whales – the largest toothed predators on the planet, which can weigh up to 57,000 kilogrammes (kg) and normally live about 70 years – beached themselves on Germany’s North Sea shore. Five more, thought to be from the same pod, also washed up on the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coastline. All of the animals were found to contain pieces of plastic in their stomach and intestines, including a 70-centimetre engine cover, a 13-metre fishing net and the remains of a plastic bucket. While researchers say that the plastic was unlikely to have caused the whales to beach themselves, the findings are undoubtedly disturbing, and just one of several incidents that have been drawing attention to the problem of plastics in the ocean in recent months.

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MD, Driving Instructor

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