Category Archives: Features

Malaysia sends back trash, says won’t be world’s waste bin

plastic-pollution-beach-bali
Plastic pollution, Kuta beach, Bali. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
Between 4.8 million tonnes and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean every year, 80 percent of it from land sources due to inadequate waste management. According to the Worldwatch Institute, plastic production is increasing 4-5 percent annually.

Excerpts;

Malaysia has sent back 150 containers of plastic waste to 13 mainly rich countries since the third quarter last year.

Shipments of unwanted rubbish have been rerouted to Southeast Asia since China banned the import of plastic waste in 2018, but Malaysia and other developing countries are fighting back…

Read Full Article; ABC News (01-19-2020)

China just handed the World a 111-million-ton trash problem; Bloomberg (06-20-2018)
The world’s biggest waste importer is no longer buying. So where’s all that trash going to go?..

Ocean Oddities: Pacific’s Plastic Island; Surfline (06-06-2017)
Ever since people invented trash, the sea has served as our favorite dump…

Only 14% of plastics are recycled – can tech innovation tackle the rest? Guardian UK (02-22-2017)
Billions of pounds of plastic waste are littering the world’s oceans. Now, an organic chemist and a sailboat captain report that they are developing a process to reuse certain plastics, transforming them from worthless trash into a valuable diesel fuel with a small mobile reactor that could operate on land or at sea…

More than 8. 3 billion tons of plastics made: Most has now been discarded; Science Daily (07-19-2017)
Humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since large-scale production of the synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, and most of it now resides in landfills or the natural environment, according to a study.

Plastic pollution: When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care
Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. Those are the attractive qualities that lead us, around the world, to such a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods. However, durable and very slow to degrade, plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power. Our tremendous attraction to plastic, coupled with an undeniable behavioral propensity of increasingly over-consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, has become a combination of lethal nature…

Asia’s hunger for sand is harmful to farming and the environment


Singapore’s added construction plan (in brown), 01-2020. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
Singapore’s expansion has been a colossal undertaking. It is not merely a matter of coastal reclamation: Singapore is growing vertically as well as horizontally. This means that the nation’s market needs fine river sand—used for beaches and concrete—as well as coarse sea sand to create new ground. Captions: Harvard Design Magazine (09-07-2015)

Excerpts;

There has probably never been a better time to be in the sand business. The world uses nearly 50bn tonnes of sand and gravel a year—almost twice as much as a decade ago. No other natural resource is extracted and traded on such an epic scale, bar water…

Read Full Article; The Economist (01-14-2020)

Such Quantities of Sand, The Economist (07-27-2015)
Asia’s mania for reclaiming land from the sea spawns mounting problems…

Asia’s hunger for sand takes a toll on endangered species; Science (03-01-2018)

Demand for sand: the largest mining industry no one talks about; Inhabitat (05-23-2019)
The world’s largest and perhaps most destructive mining industry is rarely discussed. Approximately 85 percent of all material mined from the earth is a simple and widely available resource: sand. Because it is so cheap and readily available, it is mined by everyone from guy with a shovel, to multi-million dollar machine operations.

Sand Mining: Growing Pains of Cross-Border Trade, Yale Global (08-29-2017)

The world is running out of sand, The New Yorker (05-29-2017)

The Economist explains: Why there is a shortage of sand; The Economist (04-24-2017)
It may be plentiful, but so is the demand for it…

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about Sand Mining: “Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks.”
“Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013 in its french version: “Le Sable: enquête sur une disparition”, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Is in Such High Demand, People Are Stealing Tons of It, By Dave Roos; HowStuffWorks (03-06-2017)
As strange as it may sound, sand is one of the world’s hottest commodities. The global construction boom has created an insatiable appetite for sand, the chief ingredient for making concrete. The problem is that sand isn’t as abundant as it used to be. And when high demand and high value meets scarcity, you open the doors to smuggling…

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, By John R. Platt, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource, followed by the land reclamation industry. The Sand business has been estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…” — Denis Delestrac (©-2013).

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

‘We can’t wait’: Maldives desperate for funds as islands risk going under


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The tropical Maldives may lose entire islands unless it can quickly access cheap financing to fight the impact of climate change, its foreign minister said…

Read Full Article; Strait Times (01-17-2020)

The sinking state, The Washington Post (07-26-2018)

What happens when a country drowns? These 5 island nations will disappear first; Inverse (06-05-2019)

Escaping the Waves: a Fijian Village Relocates, a Video (10-03-2015)
“When many understand climate change in concept but not through personal experience, this exhibit carries great weight…”

Microplastics affect sand crabs’ mortality and reproduction


Plastic pollution. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
“The unprecedented plastic waste tide plaguing our oceans and shores, can become as limited as our chosen relationship with plastics, which involves a dramatic behavioral change on our part…”
— Claire Le Guern, author of “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide” ©.

Excerpts;

Sand crabs, a key species in beach ecosystems, were found to have increased adult mortality and decreased reproductive success when exposed to plastic microfibers, according to a new study…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (01-17-2019)

Microplastics Worse For Crabs And Other Marine Life Than Previously Thought; Science Daily (07-18-2014)

UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions; United Nations (12-05-2016)
Marine debris is negatively affecting more than 800 animal species and causing serious losses to many countries’ economies, according to a United Nations report launched December 5th, 2016…

Plastic Pollution: When The Mermaids Cry, The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care
Washed out on our coasts in obvious and clearly visible form, the plastic pollution spectacle blatantly unveiling on our beaches is only the prelude of the greater story that unfolded further away in the world’s oceans, yet mostly originating from where we stand: the land…

Global warming cited as Antarctica’s chinstrap penguin population drops by half

boulders-south-africa
Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The numbers have dropped across the region as average temperatures have soared by more than five degrees over 50 years. That increase is about five-times the global average.

“It’s very dramatic to have a wildlife population decline by 50% – an unexploited wildlife population. They’re not hunted,” says activist and researcher Steve Forrest. “I think climate change is driving almost all of the processes down here now in a way they’ve never experienced before…”

Read Full Article; CBS News (01-16-2020)

Nestlé is spending billions to create a market for recycled plastics


Plastic pollution. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
“The unprecedented plastic waste tide plaguing our oceans and shores, can become as limited as our chosen relationship with plastics, which involves a dramatic behavioral change on our part…”
— Claire Le Guern, author of “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide” ©.

Excerpts;

Food companies trying to reduce their consumption of plastic have a big problem — it’s hard to find suitable recycled material. Nestlé, one of the world’s worst corporate plastic polluters, says it’s willing to spend more than $2 billion to try and fix that.

Nestlé, Coca-Cola (COKE) and PepsiCo (PEP) are the top polluting companies for the second year running…

Read Full Article; CNN (01-16-2020)

Coca-Cola is world’s biggest plastics polluter – again; Guardian UK (11-09-2019)

Coca-Cola admits it produces 3m tonnes of plastic packaging a year; Guardian UK (03-14-2019)
Coca-Cola has revealed for the first time it produces 3m tonnes of plastic packaging a year – equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute – as a report calls on other global companies to end the secrecy over their plastic footprint…

What are businesses doing to turn off the plastic tap? UNEP (06-28-2018)

These 10 companies are flooding the planet with throwaway plastic; Greenpeace (10-09-2018)
Nine months, six continents, 239 cleanup events, and more than 187,000 pieces of trash later, we now have the most comprehensive snapshot to date of how corporations are contributing to the global plastic pollution problem…

Over 180 countries -not including the US– agree to restrict global plastic waste trade; CNN (05-11-2019)
The governments of 187 countries have agreed to control the movement of plastic waste between national borders, in an effort to curb the world’s plastic crisis — but the United States was not among them…

Plastic Pollution: When The Mermaids Cry, The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care
Washed out on our coasts in obvious and clearly visible form, the plastic pollution spectacle blatantly unveiling on our beaches is only the prelude of the greater story that unfolded further away in the world’s oceans, yet mostly originating from where we stand: the land…

Unsustainable sand mining is threatening lives along the Mekong River in Cambodia


Sand river mining in the Puna Tsang Chu, Punakha, Bhutan, January 2020. Photograph:Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.

As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, they found and reported that “the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…! Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water…” —Denis Delestrac -(©-2013) “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker.

Excerpts;

It’s a resource used in global construction and mined from rivers and coasts across the world.

Now new research, as part of a project led by University of Southampton, has shown sand mining is causing river beds to lower, leading to riverbank instability and increasing the likelihood of dangerous river bank collapse, damaging infrastructure and housing and putting lives at risk…

Read Full Article; Phys Org (01-14-2020)

In Cambodia, sand mining is big business — but it comes at a price; PBS (09-18-2019)
Sand mining accounts for 85 percent of all worldwide mineral extraction, a $70 billion industry. In Cambodia, the practice is big business — but it comes with a price. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

Sand Storm: $750 Million Worth of The Material is Unaccounted For in Cambodia; RFA (11-02-2016)
Nearly 50 civil society organizations called for the Cambodian government to join some other Southeast Asian nations and ban or severely restrict exports of sand to Singapore after it was revealed that nearly $750 million worth of the building material has disappeared from the country…

Singapore’s data mirrors UN’s on Cambodia’s sand export numbers; The Phon Penh Post (10-19-2016)
Singaporean customs data on sand imports from Cambodia show near identical figures to those recorded by the UN, which last month were dismissed by a top official amid a reporting discrepancy in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The UN data showed $752 million in imports of sand from Cambodia since 2007, despite Cambodia reporting only about $5 million in exports to Singapore…

Cambodia digs into sand mining industry as beaches vanish, Reuters (11-05-2016)
Cambodian officials have promised to investigate problems in the sand mining business following complaints from fishermen that dredgers have been stealing the shore beneath their boats on an industrial scale…The ministry’s move came after the release of U.N. trade data compiled by campaigners this week, showing Singapore has imported more than 72 million tons of Cambodian sand since 2007…

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about Sand Mining: “Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks.”
“Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013 in its french version: “Le Sable: enquête sur une disparition”, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Is in Such High Demand, People Are Stealing Tons of It, By Dave Roos; HowStuffWorks (03-06-2017)
As strange as it may sound, sand is one of the world’s hottest commodities. The global construction boom has created an insatiable appetite for sand, the chief ingredient for making concrete. The problem is that sand isn’t as abundant as it used to be. And when high demand and high value meets scarcity, you open the doors to smuggling…

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, By John R. Platt, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

Demand for sand: the largest mining industry no one talks about; Inhabitat (05-23-2019)
The world’s largest and perhaps most destructive mining industry is rarely discussed. Approximately 85 percent of all material mined from the earth is a simple and widely available resource: sand. Because it is so cheap and readily available, it is mined by everyone from guy with a shovel, to multi-million dollar machine operations.

The world is running out of sand, The New Yorker (05-29-2017)

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
Is sand an infinite resource? Can the existing supply satisfy a gigantic demand fueled by construction booms? What are the consequences of intensive beach sand mining for the environment and the neighboring populations…? This investigative documentary takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “Sand Wars” have begun…


Cambodia Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care


BE THE CHANGE:

PETITION: Take Action To End Global Beach Sand Mining, Coastal Care


Illegal beach and dune sand mining operations, near Tangier, Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Climate change has pushed the world’s oceans to record temperatures


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The world’s oceans were warmer in 2019 than at any time in recorded history, a new analysis confirms.

Compared to the 1981-2010 average, scientists calculated that the 2019 average ocean temperature had increased by 0.075 degrees Celsius.

While that may not sound like much, the amount of energy the ocean has absorbed to warm by that much is about 228 sextillion joules — the equivalent of around 3.6 billion Hiroshima bomb explosions…

Read Full Article; ABC News (01-15-2020)

NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal 2019 Second Warmest Year on Record


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

By NASA;

According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2019 were the second warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880.

Globally, 2019 temperatures were second only to those of 2016 and continued the planet’s long-term warming trend: the past five years have been the warmest of the last 140 years.

This past year, they were 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (0.98 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

“The decade that just ended is clearly the warmest decade on record,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “Every decade since the 1960s clearly has been warmer than the one before.”

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen and the average temperature is now more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (a bit more than 1 degree Celsius) above that of the late 19th century. For reference, the last Ice Age was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than pre-industrial temperatures.


This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Berkeley Earth research group, the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK), and the Cowtan and Way analysis. Though there are minor variations from year to year, all five temperature records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the past decade has been the warmest.
Credits: NASA GISS/Gavin Schmidt.

“We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back. This shows that what’s happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon: we know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Schmidt said.

Because weather station locations and measurement practices change over time, the interpretation of specific year-to-year global mean temperature differences has some uncertainties. Taking this into account, NASA estimates that 2019’s global mean change is accurate to within 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 95% certainty level.

Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming. NOAA found the 2019 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the 34th warmest on record, giving it a “warmer than average” classification. The Arctic region has warmed slightly more than three times faster than the rest of the world since 1970.

Rising temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean are contributing to the continued mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica and to increases in some extreme events, such as heat waves, wildfires, intense precipitation.

NASA’s temperature analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from more than 20,000 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.

These in situ measurements are analyzed using an algorithm that considers the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and urban heat island effects that could skew the conclusions. These calculations produce the global average temperature deviations from the baseline period of 1951 to 1980.

NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but with a different interpolation into the Earth’s polar and other data-poor regions. NOAA’s analysis found 2019 global temperatures were 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.95 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average.

NASA’s full 2019 surface temperature data set and the complete methodology used for: the temperature calculation and its uncertainties are available.

GISS is a laboratory within the Earth Sciences Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The laboratory is affiliated with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York.

NASA uses the unique vantage point of space to better understand Earth as an interconnected system. The agency also uses airborne and ground-based measurements, and develops new ways to observe and study Earth with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. NASA shares this knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

Original Article; NASA (01-15-2020)