Whale dies after swallowing 'most plastic ever seen in an animal'

Plastic waste was recovered from inside the animal. [Photo, Courtesy]

A whale was found dead after swallowing more than 40kg of plastic pollution from the ocean.

The Cuvier's beaked whale 'had the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale,' a marine biologist said.

Workers were horrified when they found hundreds of plastic items in the whale's stomach after it washed ashore Compostela Valley, the Philippines, on March 16 just after 5am.

Recovered from inside the beaked whale were 16 rice sacks, four plastic bags used in banana plantations, multiple shopping bags, and hundreds of other small pieces of plastic packaging.

A graphic video shows experts removing the pieces of plastic from inside the whale.

All of them had been floating in the ocean before being swallowed by the marine creature, causing its death.

Harrowing pictures show the animal which was seen by locals barely alive and floating in the shallows.

Environmental officials were called and arrived at 11am but the whale had died moments earlier.

They then began the grim task of establishing the cause of death.

Staff from the country's Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Fishery Management Regulatory Division performed a necropsy on the whale to find out the cause of death, led by Dr Elaine Belvis and American marine biologist Darrel Blatchley who owns D'Bone Collector Museum.

Darrel said: ''This whale had the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale. It's disgusting.

"Action must be taken by the government against those who continue to treat the waterways and ocean as dumpsters.''

Darrel said workers would continue sifting through the whale's guts to identify the plastic which had clogged its stomach.

He added: ''Doing this is not just for our gain but mainly to give education and for people to realise how magnificent these animals are.''