(CBS 8) - Ocean garbage may be to blame for the death of a whale found floating off the coast of Seattle. What was found inside the whale was shocking.
The debris topped 50 gallons in volume, from hand towels, surgical gloves, duct tape to sweat pants.
It's too early to tell if these disturbing amounts of man-made products actually killed the whale, but it has gotten San Diego Coastkeeper Marine Debris Coordinator Alicia Glassco talking about what she considers the biggest threat to the ocean: plastic.
"Since plastic isn't biodegradable in the marine environment, it breaks downs to smaller to smaller pieces but it never really goes away," she said.
It might explain why there was so much human trash found inside the 37-foot gray whale's stomach. Scientists collected over 20 plastic bags out of the whale's stomach.
Glassco says this should be a reminder that our trash, no matter how small, affects innocent marine life that depends on us to be responsible.
"As the world gets smaller and globalization increases, we realize the ocean is a finite resource and we can't continue to degrade it," Glassco said.
You can sign up for the Creek to Bay Cleanup, which takes place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. throughout the county.