Almost 20 pounds of plastic bags and other plastic trash were pulled from the stomach of a pilot whale that died over the weekend in Thailand, officials have said. Thailand's marine agency has vowed to use the case to call for change in human behavior ahead of World Oceans Day, on June 8.

The pilot whale was first found struggling in a canal in southern Thailand's Songkhla province a week ago, according to the Reuters news agency. Veterinarians tried to help the animal, and it managed to spit out about five pieces of plastic on Friday but then died.

An autopsy revealed the massive haul of plastic bags and other human detritus in the animal's stomach; 80 bags and other pieces of plastic, weighing a total of 17 pounds according to a statement posted on the Marine and Coastal Resources Department's website.

Up to 80 plastic bags extracted from a dead pilot whale's stomach are seen in Songkhla, Thailand, in an image from a June 1, 2018 video by Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. REUTERS/HANDOUT

"This plastic rubbish made the whale sick and unable to hunt for food," the government body said. The department head, Jatuporn Buruspat, said the whale likely mistook the floating trash for food. Pilot whales eat squid, octopus and small fish.

Buruspat told Reuters that the department would "use the whale case and invite all sectors to show their intentions on how to reduce the use of plastic in Thailand," ahead of World Oceans Day.

The United Nations' environmental chief warned in December that humans are dumping eight million tons of plastic into the oceans every year, and it will soon come back to bite us.

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