Earlier this month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) responded to a call saying a dolphin had washed ashore on Fort Myers Beach in southwest Florida.
In a May 17 Facebook post, the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute announced a necropsy performed on the seven-foot male bottlenose dolphin revealed it had somehow ingested a two-foot-long hose, with a shower head still attached.
Though the hose was found in the dolphin, officials were careful not to assume the mammal's cause of death or stranding. Instead, the FWC collected samples from the fish's necropsy and sent their findings off for further analysis.
The state institute added that this was not the first instance of plastic pollution affecting dolphins in recent days, as a female rough-toothed dolphin was found stranded with at least two plastic bags and remnants of a balloon in its stomach on April 29.
The FWC concluded its statement by urging locals to be more cognizant of how they dispose of their plastic waste, adding that marine mammals are often injured or made sick by plastic before stranding and possibly washing ashore.
It's not just Florida that is seeing an increase in beached animals that have consumed large amounts of plastic.
In March, Sputnik reported a Philippines-based NGO was calling for immediate action to address plastic pollution after an emaciated juvenile Cuvier's beaked whale washed ashore with 16 rice sacks, four banana bags and several shopping bags in its stomach — a total of more than 40 kilograms of plastic.
Earlier this month, some 187 countries signed a UN accord which looks to limit unsorted plastic waste exports. The US, however, did not agree to the deal, saying it would impact the trade of plastic waste to the country's own detriment, according to EcoWatch.