plastic tagged posts

Stopping Marine Plastic Pollution: A Key IUCN Congress Goal

Plastic bottles and bottle caps are among the most frequent items found along Mediterranean shores

Plastic bags may remain intact for years in the marine environment. Plastic products certified to be industrially compostable are no solution for littering, as they do not degrade efficiently in the environment and continue to pose a threat to wildlife as they break down. Credit: Eleonora de Sabata / Clean Sea LIFE

St David’s, Wales, Jul 1 2021 (IPS) – Documented images of albatross chicks and marine turtles dying slow deaths from eating plastic bags and other waste are being seared into our consciences. And yet our mass pollution of Earth’s seas and oceans, fuelled by single-use plastics and throw-away consumerism, just gets worse.

Plastic debris is estimated to kill more than a million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals and countless sea turtles every year...

Read More

Plastic Facemasks Devastating Impact on the World’s Oceans

Divers have gathered shocking images of the devastating impact disposable masks are having on the environment and our oceans, ending up washed-up among coral reefs and damaging the health of marine animals. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in pollution, adding to the plastic waste that is already threatening marine life. Divers have seen throwaway facemasks and plastic gloves floating around the ocean like jellyfish.

Environmentalists have warned how sea creatures such as turtles, whose habitat are the tropical waters close to Manila, the Philippines, will be unable to distinguish food from plastic waste.

Since March 2020, the RSPCA has said they have had to help more than 900 animals caught in discarded PPE, the majority being birds...

Read More

Face masks and gloves found on 30% of UK beaches

This year’s Great British Beach Clean, hosted by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), has found that face masks and gloves were found on nearly 30% of beaches cleaned by Marine Conservation Society volunteers over the week-long event. The inland Source to Sea Litter Quest data shows a similarly alarming presence of masks and gloves, with more than 69% of litter picks finding PPE items.

“The amount of PPE our volunteers found on beaches and inland this year is certainly of concern,” said Lizzie Prior, Great British Beach Clean Coordinator at the MCS...

Read More

River Thames ‘severely polluted with plastic’

The River Thames has some of the highest recorded levels of microplastics for any river in the world. Scientists have estimated that 94,000 microplastics per second flow down the river in places. The quantity exceeds that measured in other European rivers, such as the Danube and Rhine. Tiny bits of plastic have been found inside the bodies of crabs living in the Thames. And wet wipes flushed down the toilet are accumulating in large numbers on the shoreline.

Researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, are calling for stricter regulations on the labelling and disposal of plastic products.

They warn that careless disposal of plastic gloves and masks during the coronavirus pandemic might make the problem of plastic pollution worse.

“Taken together these studies show how many diff...

Read More

Coronavirus: ‘The masks you throw away could end up killing a whale’

Tons of PPE from coronavirus ends up in our oceans

As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, more and more protective equipment is ending up in the sea.

Globally we are using 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves every month, according to some estimates.

And divers and observers are spotting more of this discarded waste floating underwater, causing problems for wildlife and washing up on shorelines all over the world.

Source

Read More

Another reason to cut down on plastics

marine plastics and debris

Greetings and welcome to Plastic Free July! This month, millions of people across 177 countries have pledged to cut down on the amount of plastic they use. The movement started small almost a decade ago in Australia, but last year more than 250 million people pledged to participate. This year, the annual challenge arrives as plastic is making something of a comeback amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Efforts to ban plastic bags in cities across the United States have stalled and some grocery stores won’t allow customers to bring their own reusable bags. Many restaurants are open for takeout service only, and that means disposable containers and flatware. A lot of the masks people wear are laced with microplastics.

While health should be the primary concern during a pandemic, “Caring for the...

Read More

Washing machines’ microplastic filters ‘untested’

Globally, an estimated 50 billion garments are cleaned in washing machines each year

Filters can cut the volume of ocean-bound microplastic fibres released by washing machines, a study has shown. However, until now, filters have not been tested under scientific conditions to prove their effectiveness. In the first study of its kind, scientists found that the majority of fibres were removed but up to a third were still getting though. Each year, an estimated 50 billion garments are washed in machines around the globe. Mark Browne from the University of New South Wales, and colleagues Macarena Ros and Emma Johnston, observed: “Facilities that treat sewage divert some fibres to sludge, but no current method of filtration eliminates their environmental release.”

One...

Read More

We need to prioritize ocean conservation before it’s too late

A coral reef impacted by a severe bleaching event

There are many challenges that are top-of-mind when we think about ocean conservation. And science is perhaps the most crucial part of decoding these challenges. It underlies a lot of the innovation we need to save the ocean. However, while science underlies many of these solutions, scientists aren’t the only perspectives we need. From storytellers like filmmakers to event planners and educators, we very much need multiple perspectives to spurn effective solutions.

EarthX, “the world’s largest environmental conference and film festival,” ran a virtual event just last week that embodies this principle. The event, in partnership with National Geographic, acknowledges the importance of scientific viewpoints, inviting marine biologist and former NOAA Chief Scientist Sylvia Earle.

But ...

Read More

Plastic piles up in Thailand as pandemic efforts sideline pollution fight

Thailand began the year with a ban on single-use plastic bags that Bangkok office worker Nicha Singhanoi hoped would cut back the waste that puts her country among the world’s top five choking the oceans with plastic. Then the coronavirus pandemic forced school closures and authorities told people to stay home, and far from falling, Bangkok’s plastic waste has soared 62% in volume in April, as more people opt for food and goods to be delivered to homes.

“There is so much bubble wrap and product packaging, or bags and containers from food deliveries,” said Nicha, 27, an avid online shopper, who said that working from home deprived her of the time to cook.

Even if the pandemic eases, environmentalists fear Thailand is simply a pointer for the situation elsewhere in Southeast Asia, h...

Read More

High microplastic concentration found on ocean floor

Microplastics in the ocean with a Manta Ray

Scientists have identified the highest levels of microplastics ever recorded on the seafloor. The contamination was found in sediments pulled from the bottom of the Mediterranean, near Italy. The analysis, led by the University of Manchester, found up to 1.9 million plastic pieces per square metre.

These items likely included fibres from clothing and other synthetic textiles, and tiny fragments from larger objects that had broken down over time.

The researchers’ investigations lead them to believe that microplastics (smaller than 1mm) are being concentrated in specific locations on the ocean floor by powerful bottom currents.

“These currents build what are called drift deposits; think of underwater sand dunes,” explained Dr Ian Kane, who fronted the international team.

“They can be tens ...

Read More