plastic tagged posts

Plastic bag sales down by 90% in England

Turtle eating plastic

Sales of single-use plastic bags at the seven biggest retailers in England have plummeted by 90 per cent since the introduction of a 5p charge in 2015, Government figures show. The decline was hailed by the newly installed Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers, as “a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society”. Campaigners against plastic also welcomed the impact of the charge, credited with a dramatic change in consumer behaviour.

It follows huge falls in plastic bag use in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland which all introduced the levy sooner.

Britain beating plastic bags

Julian Kirby of Friends of the Earth said: “What an amazing difference good legislation makes...

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40 tonnes of trash removed from the Pacific

The sailing cargo ship Kwai docked in Honolulu last month after a 25-day voyage with 40 tonnes of fishing nets and consumer plastics aboard, gathered from what has become known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

The latest annual clean-up voyage by the non-profit Ocean Voyages Institute (OVI) used satellite imagery to specifically target discarded fishing gear. More than half a million tonnes of plastic nets – so-called ghost nets – are abandoned each year in oceans across the world, entangling and killing up to 380,000 sea mammals.

The circulating ocean current known as the North Pacific Gyre is believed to contain 1.8 trillion plastic items weighing over 80,000 tonnes...

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Florida Divers break world record with ocean clean-up

A massive team of divers have broken the Guinness World Record for the largest underwater cleanup. The team of 633 people organised by Dixie Divers in Florida picked up litter from the seabed near the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier on Saturday.

The marine conservation non-profit project AWARE and the scuba diving agency PADI also supported the event, aiming to show how conservation is bringing people together more than ever before.

Arlington Pavan, who owns the Dixie Divers facility, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on the weekend: “It’s amazing to see everybody here, happy, just amazing.

“The last record took 24 hours and we did it in two hours, so it’s amazing.”

The Sun Sentinel reported that the Dixie Divers team broke the last record from 2...

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414 million pieces of plastic found on remote islands in Indian Ocean

On the beaches of the tiny Cocos (Keeling) Islands, population 600, marine scientists found 977,000 shoes and 373,000 toothbrushes.

A comprehensive survey of debris on the islands – among the most remote places on Earth, in the Indian Ocean – has found a staggering amount of rubbish washed ashore. This included 414m pieces of plastic, weighing 238 tonnes.

The study, published in the journal Nature, concluded the volume of debris points to the exponential increase of global plastic polluting the world’s oceans and “highlights a worrying trend in the production and discharge of single-use products”.

The lead author, Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, said remote islands without large populations were the most effe...

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Can you spot ocean plastic from space?

Plastic polluting the Oceans

Scientists are working on a technique to track plastic debris in the ocean from space. It’s extremely challenging, especially since the individual pieces of litter are smaller than the minimum-sized objects that satellites can resolve.

But the approach works by looking for plastic’s reflected light signature in the water.

And early trials conducted by the UK’s Plymouth Marine Laboratory have been very encouraging.

“You’re never going to see an individual plastic bottle floating on the sea, but we can detect aggregations of this material,” Dr Lauren Biermann told BBC News.

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Dead whale had 40kg of plastic in stomach

Dead Whale dies of plastic

A dead whale that washed up in the Philippines had 40kg (88lbs) of plastic bags inside its stomach, researchers have said. Workers at D’Bone Collector Museum recovered the Cuvier’s beaked whale east of Davao City earlier in March. In a Facebook post, the museum said the animal was filled with “the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale”.

There were 16 rice sacks in its stomach, as well as “multiple shopping bags”.

The museum will post a full list of the items found in the whale over the next few days.

“I was not prepared for the amount of plastic,” the museum’s founder and president, Darrell Blatchley, told broadcaster CNN. “It was so big, the plastic was beginning calcification.”

The use of throwaway plastic is a particular problem in some South East Asian countries, inclu...

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After Plastic Straws, Are Balloons Next To Go?

The litter is not only a blight on landscapes, waterways, trees and power lines, but balloons and balloon strings can entangle, choke or kill marine life and other animals. That’s not to mention the wasteful use of helium, a non-renewable resource.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that much like recent efforts to ban plastic straws and plastic bags, balloons could similarly be on the way out as the general public becomes more environmentally conscious.

“The issue of straws has really broadened the marine debris issue,” Emma Tonge of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the AP.

Recently, South Carolina’s Clemson University decision last month to end its 30-year football gameday tradition of releasing 10,000 balloons into the air...

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Warming Gases hidden in Plastic Waste

It’s your classic movie eureka moment.
Young researcher Sarah-Jeanne Royer set out to measure methane gas coming from biological activity in sea water. Instead, in a “happy accident” she found that the plastic bottles holding the samples were a bigger source of this powerful warming molecule than the bugs in the water.

Now she’s published further details in a study into the potential warming impact of gases seeping from plastic waste. “It was a totally unexpected discovery,” Dr Royer told BBC News.

“Some members of the lab were experimenting with high density polyethylene bottles looking at methane biological production, but the concentrations were much higher than expected.”

“So we realised that the emissions were not just coming from the biology but from the bottle that we were using for...

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Wave of plastic hits Beach

Plastic is washed up in a wave on a beach in the Dominican Republic

A wave of plastic has hit a beach in the Dominican Republic. This was the scene after a storm on Thursday. The BBC spoke to the organisation who shot the footage of the plastic on the shoreline.

This is unfortunately, what is becoming ‘the new normal’.

 

 

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Using Drones to Stem The Plastic Tide

Man on beach with drone and plastic

An environmental organization in England is using drones and artificial intelligence to help measure plastic waste on the world’s beaches. In the last 10 years, there has been a 250% increase of plastics washing up on the world’s beaches. Of the millions of tons that are dumped in our oceans each year, we can only account for around 1%. The rest – yes, that’s 99% of millions of tons – is missing, lost among the waves. That’s the startling introduction from The Plastic Tide founder Peter Kohler.

Having the noble intention of cleaning up the mess we have made is just the start. The scale of that task is monumental. Aside from all the plastic floating around in the oceans and on the sea floor, spotting the waste that does turn up on beaches among pebbles and sand isn’t easy.

In...

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