As part of our commitment to create social awareness on marine litter impacts, we engage in several hands-on events such as educational workshops, info-days, and beach clean ups. To reinforce such efforts, MAELSTROM’s team has designed a set of three plastic whales which are present at key events and used as engagement tolls during educational workshops for young generations in our pilot countries – Italy and Portugal.
Our plastic whales are in fact real size sperm whale calves, made of recycled polyethylene, one of the most widespread plastics in the world.
Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), like other marine mammals, are endangered and particularly threatened by plastic marine litter. Dozens of these whales die every year due to inflammation caused by the presence of indigestible plastic in their stomach or due to entanglement in ghost (plastic made) nets. More than 640,000 tones of nets, lines, pots and traps used in commercial fishing are dumped and discarded in the sea every year! Most of that material is made of polyethylene.
Similar to other types of plastic, polyethylene is a non-biodegradable material, which uses considerable amounts of fossil fuels to be produced and takes centuries to decompose. It is therefore imperative to reduce its use, to recycle it and to use it again…and again!