rubbish tagged posts

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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