Florida officials discovered a two-foot plastic shower hose in the stomach of a seven-foot-long dead male dolphin that washed ashore earlier this month, CNNreports.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission announced on May 17 that the dolphin was found at Fort Meyers Beach a week before. Biologists performed an autopsy, which revealed the hose and other plastic parts in the dolphin’s stomach and esophagus.
“Your actions can make a difference – secure and properly dispose of trash, take part in coastal cleanups and share information on how to reduce marine debris with others,” the agency wrote in a Facebook post.
The dolphin is the second stranded one that officials have found at the beach in a month. A months-old dolphin was found on April 23 with a piece of balloon and two plastic bags in its stomach. Biologists determined that it was in poor health and decided to “humanely euthanize” it.
“This finding highlights the need to reduce single use plastic and to not release balloons into the environment,” the commission said at the time.
More than 700 species of marine animals come across litter, much of which is plastic, according to the University of Plymouth. An estimated 12 million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year, the institution further notes.
Several states have made an effort to limit the use of plastic in response. In 2015, Hawaii became the first to ban plastic bags in all of its counties. California and New York have since followed suit with similar legislation.