World

Deer in Thailand found dead with 7kg of plastic bags in stomach

BANGKOK: A wild deer was found dead after swallowing 7kg of plastic bags and other trash in Thailand, an official said on Tuesday, raising the alarm on waste littering the country's waters and forests.

The country is one of the world's largest consumers of plastic, with Thais using up to 3,000 single-use plastic bags each a year.

Marine animals like turtles and dugongs have died in its waste-choked waters, and autopsies have found that plastic in the stomach lining contributed to their deaths. Now the scourge of plastic waste is affecting Thailand's animals on land.

Officials said a 10-year-old deer was found dead in a national park in Nan province, around 630km north of Bangkok. An autopsy discovered "plastic bags in the stomach, which is one of the causes of (the deer's) death", said Mr Kriangsak Thanompun, director of the protected region in the Khun Sathan National Park.

The bags contained coffee grounds, instant noodle packaging, garbage bags, towels and underwear, according to photos provided by the national park.

The discovery of the deer comes months after a sick baby dugong won hearts in Thailand as she fought for recovery, only to die from an infection exacerbated by plastic bits lining her stomach.

The loss of the wild deer is "another tragedy", Mr Kriangsak said. "It shows we have to take seriously and reduce ... single-use plastic," he said, calling for "nature-friendly products" to be used instead.

Several major retailers in Thailand have pledged to stop handing out single-use plastic bags by January next year. - AFP

WORLD