rubbish 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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Ian Kiernan: The man who wanted to clean up the world

Ian Kiernan founder of Clean up the World

Prominent environmentalist Ian Kiernan, the founder of an iconic Australian anti-litter campaign that expanded into a global success, has died aged 78. The round-the-world yachtsman began the Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World campaigns after being appalled by levels of ocean rubbish in the 1980s.

In 1994, he famously helped come to the rescue of Prince Charles when a protester rushed at him, firing a starting pistol, on a stage in Sydney.

Mr Kiernan had been enduring cancer.

“While we will deeply miss Ian’s guidance and humour, it was his greatest wish that the work he inspired continues,” Clean Up Australia said in a statement on Wednesday.

His first clean-up event took place around Sydney Harbour in 1989, with more than 40,000 volunteers clearing rubbish from the shoreline.

It h...

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Scientists accidentally created Mutant Enzyme that eats Plastic Waste

They found the first ones in Japan. Hidden in the soil at a plastics recycling plant, researchers unearthed a microbe that had evolved to eat the soda bottles dominating its habitat, after you and I throw them away. That discovery was announced in 2016, and scientists have now gone one better. While examining how the Japanese bug breaks down plastic, they accidentally created a mutant enzyme that outperforms the natural bacteria, and further tweaks could offer a vital solution to humanity’s colossal plastics problem.

“Serendipity often plays a significant role in fundamental scientific research and our discovery here is no exception,” says structural biologist John McGeehan from the University of Portsmouth in the UK.

“This unanticipated discovery suggests that there is room to further im...

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Chile Bans Plastic Bags in 100+ Coastal Areas

Turtle eating plastic

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed a bill Wednesday that prohibits the sale of single-use plastic bags in 102 coastal villages and towns in a bid to stop the build-up of ocean plastic and to “[take] care of our marine ecosystems.”

An estimated eight million tons of plastic trash gets dumped into our oceans each year, literally choking marine life, harming ocean ecosystems and threatening the larger food chain.

Businesses found using and distributing plastic bags could face a US$300 fine, Telesur reported about the legislation.

In addition to banning plastic bags, the Chilean government plans to create 1.6 million square kilometers of marine conservation areas by 2018, AFP reported...

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Hard Coral Could Help Determine Extent of Microplastic Pollution

Michael Lombardi

The hard coral off the shores of southern New England isn’t nearly as glamorous as its tropical counterparts — in fact, it’s barely noticed even by experienced divers — but it could play a vital role in determining the size and depth of the world’s plastic footprint.

“Coral can’t run, so it makes for a good model to see how much plastic is in a particular habitat,” said Randi Rotjan, a research assistant and professor of biology at Boston University. “My guess is that coral takes in a lot of plastic because it can’t run away from it.”

ecoRI News recently met up with Rotjan, Boston University research technician Cara Johnson and Michael Lombardi of Middletown-based Ocean Opportunity Inc...

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Oceans smothered by plastic

Plastic in our oceans

Mangrove swamps are normally buzzing with life, as multitudes of colourful crabs and other creatures scurry about on the muddy forest floor.  But when marine scientist Dr Brent Newman visited Durban harbour last week, he was astonished to find not a single crab in a section of mangroves near the Bluff Yacht Club.

The reason? The biologically-rich environment has been smothered by a thick layer of plastic and other floating litter, making it impossible for crabs to burrow down into the mud.

“The mangroves were full of plastic, obliterating habitat for crabs. We could not find even one,” the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) scientist told a panel discussion at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

Marine biology lecturer Dr David Glassom said recent studies by ...

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Plastic from Europe and US is in the Arctic

Polar Bear eating plastic

Plastic waste entering the seas from both sides of the North Atlantic is accumulating in the Arctic Ocean, where it can damage local wildlife.

The low population of the Arctic Circle means little plastic waste is generated there. However, a new study has shown that the Greenland and Barents Seas (east of Greenland and north of Scandinavia) are accumulating large amounts of plastic debris that is carried and trapped there by ocean currents.

The new study, published today in Science Advances, found that the Greenland and Barents seas have accumulated hundreds of tons of plastic debris composed of around 300 billion pieces, mainly fragments around the size of a grain of rice. The vast majority of these fragments originate form the North Atlantic.

The team behind the study is composed of resea...

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Whale found dead with 30 Plastic bags in stomach

Stranded whale

Researchers in Norway were in for a shock when they discovered more than 30 plastic bags and other plastic waste inside the stomach of a whale. The whale, which had been put down by wardens off the coast of western Norway, had clearly consumed a huge amount of non-biodegradable waste.

Despite the grisly findings, researchers say that the plastics found in the whale are ‘not surprising’, as the amount of waste in the seas continues to grow. The whale was in poor condition, and had become stranded in shallow waters off the island of Sotra, leading to wardens putting the animal down.

Researchers from the University of Bergen analysed the whale’s stomach, and found huge amounts of plastic waste.

Dr Terje Lislevand, a zoologist who studied the whale, said: ‘The whale’s stomach was full of pla...

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