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"Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly bad", conservationist Dwi Suprapti of WWF-Indonesia told CNN.

"As the sperm whale that died off Indonesia had eaten flip-flops, bottles, bags and 115 drinking cups, we should keep in mind that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans if we don't act now", tweeted the Green Party at the European Parliament.

Rescuers from Wakatobi National Park found the 9.5-metre sperm whale late on Monday in waters near Kapota Island, southeast of Sulawesi, after receiving a report from environmentalists that villagers had surrounded the dead creature and were beginning to butcher its rotting carcass, park chief Heri Santoso said.

A man collects plastic items from a whale's belly in this picture obtained from social media.

She said the carcass was too decayed to determine the cause of death. There were more than 1,000 individual pieces of plastic including four bottles, 115 cups, a sack, and 25 single use carrier bags.

Indonesia is second only to China in terms of plastic pollution.

Wakatobi park plans to bury the whale on Tuesday and its remains will be used for study by the local marine academy, Reuters reported. A United Nations report says each year, humanity dumps 8 million tonnes of plastic in the sea, costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems.

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Indonesia's coordinating minister for maritime affairs, Luhut Binsar Panddjaitan, said more needed to be done to create awareness about the impact of plastic waste in our oceans.

During an autopsy veterinarians found more than 80 plastic bags in the whale's stomach.

"I think the ultimate solution is people have to use less plastic", he said, adding that it's up to government to come up with policies that change consumer behaviour on a large scale.

Indonesia is trying to reduce the use of plastic, by urging shops not to provide plastic bags for customers and teaching about the problem in schools, to meet a government target to reduce its use by 70 per cent by 2025.

The report claims that a 65% reduction in plastic waste leakage in those five countries would lead to a 45% reduction globally.

Pandjaitan told AP: "This big ambition can be achieved if people learn to understand that plastic waste is a common enemy".