plastic tagged posts

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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Flushing Plastic Period Products Pollutes the Oceans

Time to see Red - join the plastic free revolution

Flushing sanitary products down the toilet can be very detrimental for the marine environment, new research has claimed. The majority of period products such as tampons and sanitary pads are predominantly made from plastic, which makes it harder for them to be broken down when they enter the sewage system.

Approximately 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million sanitary towels are flushed down the toilet in the UK every single day, according to figures published in the Journal of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

The Marine Conservation Societyand Natracare, a plastic-free period brand, have teamed up to raise awareness about the negative impact of period waste for a campaign that coincides with Plastic Free July.

According to their research, one pack of sanitary ...

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Plastic garbage patch: Medical tests ‘inspired me to investigate’

Emily Penn is concerned about the effects of plastic on human health

Experienced sailor Emily Penn has set out with an all-female crew to investigate the world’s largest accumulation of marine plastic. Her team will carry out scientific experiments on the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, now said to be three times the size of France.

Ms Penn said her own medical tests had convinced her of the potential toxic impacts of plastic, especially for women. Data will be shared with universities.

In March this year, scientists published their latest estimate of the size of what’s officially termed the North Pacific Gyre – this moving mess of plastic is better known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and is formed by winds and ocean currents that swirl the material around, in the same way that water spirals down a drain.

The study concluded that the amount of discard...

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First summit held on tackling marine litter in Scotland

marine plastics and debris

A package of funds to help local communities reduce plastic consumption is being launched at the first summit on marine litter in Oban. The one-day event brings together retailers, environmental groups and manufacturers to find new ways of reducing plastic in Scottish waters.

It has been organised by the Scottish government and comes on the eve of a ban on microbeads in Scotland.

Groups will be encouraged to create alternatives to single-use plastics.

  • Non-recycled plastic costs Scotland £11m annually
  • Why are microbeads controversial?

It could mean creating publicly available facilities which enable people to re-fill containers with drinking water rather than having to buy new bottles.

Another suggestion for the Action on Plastic Zero Waste Towns initiative is a scheme where takeaways ar...

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