Category Archives: Inform

Why do ocean animals eat plastic?


Polar bear chewing on a plastic bag, Kaktovik, AK on the Arctic Ocean. Photo source: ©© Anita Ritenour.
“When plastic ingestion occurs, it blocks the digestive tract, gets lodged in animals windpipes cutting airflow causing suffocation, or fills the stomach, resulting in malnutrition, starvation and potentially death.” — Claire Le Guern, author of “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide” ©.

Excerpts;

Why would an apex ocean predator eat gloves? Or rope? Or plastic cups? How does a whale end up with more than 200 pounds of waste in its stomach?

Conventional wisdom suggests that animals eat plastic because it’s there and they don’t know any better (to some animals, like anchovies, plastic may smell like food). But that doesn’t explain why only certain types of whales—deep-diving toothed whales, such as sperm whales, pilot whales, and beaked whales—turn up dead on beaches with stomachs full of plastic…

Read Full Article; National Geographic – MSN (12-05-2019)

Taste, not appearance, drives corals to eat plastics; Duke University (10-24-2017)

Beached sperm whale found with 220 pounds of trash in his stomach; CBS News (12-03-2019)

Kenya: Marine debris threaten to suffocate sea animals; The Star Kenya (01-24-2017)
Marine researchers spotted a dolphin suffocating in a plastic bag last week in Watamu, Kenya. The incident, the first to be witnessed there, has raised concern on the safety of the millions of sea animals in the Indian Ocean waters due to the increased cases of plastic waste.

Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures; Guardian UK (11-15-2017)
The study, led by academics at Newcastle University, found animals from trenches across the Pacific Ocean were contaminated with fibres that probably originated from plastic bottles, packaging and synthetic clothes…

60% of Loggerhead Turtles Stranded on Beaches in South Africa Had Ingested Plastic, EcoWatch (05-031-2016)

The Plastic Found In a Single Turtle’s Stomach, Independent UK (03-24-2011)

90 Percent of Seabirds Have Plastic in Their Stomachs, Newsweek (09-01-2015)
By 2050, nearly all seabirds will have plastic in their stomachs. Already, 9 out of 10 of the birds have some of the substance in their digestive tracts. Such are the sobering conclusions of a study published August 31 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…

Great Barrier Reef Corals Eat Plastic; Science Daily (02-27-2015)
Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution. Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic in the environment and are a widespread contaminant in marine ecosystems, particularly in inshore coral reefs…

Whale and shark species at increasing risk from microplastic pollution – study; Guardian UK (02-05-2018)
Whales, some sharks and other marine species such as rays are increasingly at risk from microplastics in the oceans, a new study published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, suggests…

Video captures moment plastic enters food chain, BBC News (03-11-2017)
A scientist has filmed the moment plastic microfibre is ingested by plankton, illustrating how the material is affecting life beneath the waves. The footage shows one way that plastic waste could be entering the marine and global food chain…

Brain damage in fish from plastic nanoparticles in water, Science Daily (09-25-2017)
A new study shows that plastic particles in water may end up inside fish brains. The plastic can cause brain damage, which is the likely cause of behavioral disorders observed in the fish…

How microplastics, marine aggregates and marine animals are connected; Science Daily (10-23-2018)

New 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…

Offshore drilling creates these new dangers onshore, environmental report says


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Devastating oil spills of the Deepwater Horizon variety aren’t the only risk posed by expanded offshore drilling in waters off the United States, a new environmental report says.

New oil and gas drilling along the country’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts — which the Trump administration proposed but put on hold — would spur a flurry of energy development on dry land, raising the risk of broken pipelines and refinery pollution in coastal areas, according to a new report released by Environment America, a coalition of 29 state environmental groups…

Read Full Article; Miami Herald (12-04-2019)

Trump Moves to Open Nearly All Offshore Waters to Drilling; The New York Times (01-04-2018)

Trump Spares NO Coast, Every State at Risk: A Call To Take Action, By NRDC (01-05-2018)

US official reveals Atlantic drilling plan while hailing Trump’s ability to distract public; Guardian UK (03-14-2019)

Business View: ‘No Good Reason For Drilling’; Coastal review (05-31-2017)
Every aspect of offshore drilling, from exploration to transporting the product from the drilling site, has implications for marine life and coastal communities…

The ‘Job-Killing’ Fiction Behind Trump’s Retreat on Fuel Economy Standards; Yale E360 (04-20-2017)

Estimates of offshore drilling’s benefits exaggerated, report says, The Virginian Pilot (12-15-2015)

Trump, reversing Obama, will push to expand drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic, The Washington Post (04-28-2017)

Trump Administration announces plan to expand oil development in Alaska (11-23-2019)

Why U.S. East Coast Should Stay Off-Limits to Oil Drilling, Yale E360 (02-28-2015)
It’s not just the potential for a catastrophic spill that makes the new proposal to open Atlantic Ocean waters to oil exploration such a bad idea. What’s worse is the cumulative impact on coastal ecosystems that an active oil industry would bring…

When You Drill, You Spill; Huffington Green (05-27-2015)
The Santa Barbara County spill, one of the largest in California history, reiterates what we already know: We can’t extract oil and transport it without putting our beaches, wildlife, and coastal communities at risk. The sad fact is, when you drill, you spill.

The Ocean Is Boiling’: The Complete Oral History of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill; By Kate Wheeling & Max Ufberg; Pacific Standard Magazine – 33 min read (04-18-2017)

Biologists investigate mass die-of freshwater mussels


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Freshwater mussels, like pollinators and trees, are critical to their larger ecosystems and the world around them. They create habitat for other species, like freshwater coral reefs, and help maintain the structure and rigidity of the waterways they call home. They scoop up algae and nutrients, processing and concentrating them for others to eat.

But perhaps most importantly, these soft-bodied invertebrates improve the water quality around them. They filter out sediment and agricultural runoff, limiting the size and impacts of dead zones…

Read Full Article; NPR (12-06-2019)

A pipeline runs through it

refugio-oil-spill-cc
Refugio Beach, oil along the coastline, May 2015. External corrosion on an oil pipeline was the root cause of a leak that spilled more than 140,000 gallons of crude on the Santa Barbara coast in May, federal regulators reported Wednesday. This oil spill was the state’s largest coastal oil spill in 25 years affecting Santa Barbara County. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care.

Excerpts;

The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline could soon slice across Appalachia. If completed, the hundreds of miles of 42- and 36-inch diameter steel would carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day…

Read Full Article; Grist (12-03-2019)

Trump Lawyers Defend Pipeline’s Route Across Appalachian Trail; Bloomberg News (12-02-2019)
Environmental groups opposed to the pipeline have until Jan. 15 to respond to the briefs. Oral argument is set for Feb. 24…

In the deep end: ‘Life in Troubled Waters’ Exhibit


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The photographs taken by Selvaprakash Lakshmanan look at the changing Indian coastal landscape that has been affected by erosion, chemical plants, rising sea levels and over-fishing.

“It also shows communities – 250 million people live within 50 metres of the Indian coastline – and trying to cope with every changing reality,” says Lakshmanan about his ‘Life in Troubled Waters’ project…

Read Full Article; The New Indian Express (12-05-2019)

Inside the deadly world of India’s sand mining mafia; National Geographic (06-26-2019)

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia, The Citizen (01-04-2016)
Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

Trump administration makes it easier to dredge protected areas to restore beaches


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The Trump administration changed a 25-year-old policy to make it easier for coastal communities to take sand from protected ecosystems to improve their beaches.

The shift makes it cheaper for some of the wealthiest communities in the country to replenish their beachfronts…

Read Full Article; The NYT (11-07-2019)

Gulf of Mexico coral reefs to protect from storm surge in the future — But will they?


Photo source: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Coral reefs support 25 percent of all marine life around the globe. Those in the Gulf of Mexico, along the coasts of Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Mexico serve as important barriers to storm surge, lessening the impact of dangerous hurricanes.

A team of researchers used coupled climate model simulations as well as studies of fossil corals to describe how climate change will impact reefs in the Gulf of Mexico in the not-so-distant future, including a realistic snapshot of years 2080-2100…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (12-04-2019)

Why the world is running out of sand

sand-mining-dd
Sand miners, Maldives. Photograph: © Denis Delestrac.
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, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—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. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…”
All captions by: “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013).

Excerpts;

It may be little more than grains of weathered rock, and can be found in deserts and on beaches around the world, but sand is also the world’s second most consumed natural resource…

Read Full Article; BBC (11-17-2019)

Why Sand Is Disappearing, By John R. Gillis, Professor Emeritus of History, Rutgers University; The New York Times, November 4th, 2014.

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

The world is running out of sand; MNN (11-02-2017)

Concrete, or Beaches? World’s Sand Running Out As Global Construction Booms; The Ecologist (05-09-2017)

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…

A microscopic look at why the world is running out of sand; Video; The Verge (09-04-2018)

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 Wars” investigative film by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, 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, 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…

A looming tragedy of the sand commons; Science (09-08-2017)
Because of the difficulty in regulating their consumption, common-pool resources are prone to tragedies of the commons as people may selfishly extract them without considering long-term consequences, eventually leading to overexploitation or degradation. Even when sand mining is regulated, it is often subject to rampant illegal extraction and trade…

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Multi 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…

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

Great Barrier Reef study shows how reef copes with rapid sea-level rise

great-barrier-reef
Great barrier of reef, Australia. Photo source: ©© Secruza

Excerpts;

A survey of coral reef cores on the Great Barrier Reef has revealed how it has responded to recent periods of rapid sea-level rise. The study, covering the past 9000 years, has revealed a system in delicate balance.

Read Full Article; Science Daily (12-03-2019)

Great Barrier Reef health outlook downgraded to “very poor” due to ocean warming; CBS News (08-30-2019)

Why the Great Barrier Reef is in danger; MNN (09-07-2018) (09-12-2018)

Video Captures the Violent Act of Coral Bleaching, LiveScience (08-17-2016)

Global warming is transforming the Great Barrier Reef; Science Daily (04-18-2018)
A new study shows that corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef experienced a catastrophic die-off following the extended marine heatwave of 2016…

Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching has started early, biologist says; Guardian UK (01-19-2018)
Warm water has already begun bleaching coral on the Great Barrier Reef, weeks ahead of the period with highest forecast risk. Satellite data suggest widespread bleaching is possible by March…

A Close-Up Look at the Catastrophic Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef; Yale E360 (04-10-2017)
Scientists are reporting the second mass bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef in the last year. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, researcher Terry Hughes says these events have damaged two-thirds of the world’s largest coral reef and are directly caused by global warming…

Coral bleaching hits 93% of Great Barrier Reef, Video, Science Daily (04-21-2016)
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching in recorded history with 93 percent of the World Heritage site affected, scientists say as they reveal the phenomenon is also hitting the other side of the country…

Great Barrier Reef: the scale of bleaching has the most sober scientists worried, Guardian UK (04-16-2016)
I have dived hundreds of times, with different teams of scientists, along the reef. Yet the scale of this bleaching event has even the most sober and senior coral reef scientists worried. If the rhetoric from marine biologists is to be believed, then the Great Barrier Reef is now in the grip of a “bommie apocalypse”…

Great Barrier Reef’s Unprecedented Threat From Dredging, Dumping; Guardian UK (05-07-2014)
The impact of dredging and dumping sediment on the Great Barrier Reef has been far greater than the mining industry has claimed, with nearly 150m tonnes of new dredging set to take place in the reef’s waters, a study shows…