Category Archives: Pollution

Meet the man who swam through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch


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;

Ben Lecomte, a long-distance swimmer, swam the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from Hawaii to California to draw attention to plastic pollution. This is his Call to Earth…

Read Full Article; CNN (12-11-2019)

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…

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)

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…

Bacterial communities ‘hitchhiking’ on marine plastic trash


“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…”
Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Millions of tons of plastic trash are fouling the world’s ocean, most of it tiny pieces of microplastic less than a quarter-inch in size. Even the smallest marine animals can ingest these microplastics, potentially threatening their survival.

Marine microplastics aren’t floating solo, either — they quickly pick up a thin coating of bacteria and other microbes, a biofilm known as “The Plastisphere.”

Using an innovative microscopy method, scientists have revealed the structure of the microbial communities coating microplastic trash collected from a variety of ocean sites…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (12-02-2019)

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…

The sun can help break down ocean plastic, but there’s a catch


This Rainbow Runner had consumed 17 plastic fragments. Photo source: EHP -©5 Gyres
“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…”
© SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A recent study in the Journal of Hazardous Materials found that when four different types of post-consumer microplastics collected from the waters of the North Pacific Gyre were placed under a solar simulator, they dissolved into organic carbon.

This dissolved organic carbon was then, for the most part, munched up by marine bacteria in the water, which then likely converting it to carbon dioxide…

Read Full Article; PoPSci (11-18-2019)

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…

We’re recycling but garbage keeps piling up: What you may not know about the recycling industry


Bali, Kuta beach. Photo courtesy of: © Claude Graves.
“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…” —Coastal Care ©

Excerpts;

Recycling is a market-driven industry.

Recycling grew from just 6% of the waste stream in the 1960s to 35% in 2017, according to the EPA. The EPA touts the benefits of recycling including reducing waste, conserving energy as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. But if there is no market for the recyclable goods, then those materials go to landfills.

In January 2018, global markets and commodity pricing of all scrap materials were severely disrupted by China’s National Sword policy, which banned plastics and other material from entering the country. Up until then, China had been the world’s main importer of global waste for nearly 30 years…

Read Full Article; ABC News (11-17-2019)

Is This the End of Recycling? The Atlantic (03-05-2019)
Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash…

More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution; Scientific American (07-06-2018)
Encouraging individuals to recycle more will never solve the problem of a massive production of single-use plastic that should have been avoided in the first place…

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…

Scientists calculate impact of China’s ban on plastic waste imports; Science Daily (06-20-2018)
Scientists have calculated the potential global impact of China’s ban on plastic waste imports and how this policy might affect efforts to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the world’s landfills and natural environment…

With China’s Ban on Waste Imports, Europe Announces New Recycling Initiatives; Yale E360 (01-16-2018)
In the wake of China’s ban on the import of foreign garbage, which took effect earlier this month, countries across the globe are scrambling to figure out what to do with the thousands of tons of trash piling up at their ports. Now, Europe has announced it is launching an aggressive new recycling initiative to reduce plastic waste and garbage exports…

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

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.

Biodegradable plastic ‘false solution’ for ocean waste problem; Guardian UK (05-23-2016)

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…

How the U.S. betrayed the Marshall Islands, kindling the next nuclear disaster

bikini-atoll-baker-atomic-bomb
The “Baker” explosion, part of Operation Crossroads, a nuclear weapon test by the United States military at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, on 25 July 1946.
There was no classic mushroom cloud rising to the stratosphere, but inside the condensation cloud the top of the water geyser formed a mushroom-like head called the cauliflower, which fell back into the lagoon. The water released by the explosion was highly radioactive and contaminated many of the ships that were set up near it. Some were otherwise undamaged and sent to Hunter’s Point in San Francisco, California, United States, for decontamination. Those which could not be decontaminated were sunk a number of miles off the coast of San Francisco. Captions and Photo source: US Army

Excerpts;

In the Marshall Islands, Runit Dome holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, including lethal amounts of plutonium. Nowhere else has the United States saddled another country with so much of its nuclear waste, a product of its Cold War atomic testing program…

Read Full Article; LA Times (11-10-2019)

Revisiting Bikini Atoll, NASA (03-10-2014)
Sixty years ago, the United States detonated a thermonuclear bomb on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, that altered the landscape, hundreds of lives, and the trajectory of a nuclear arms race…

Bikini Atoll nuclear test: 60 years later and islands still unliveable, Guardian UK (03-01-2014)

Effects of nuclear tests in French Polynesia remains a major concern, ABC News (02-24-2014)
France conducted nearly 200 nuclear tests in French Polynesia between 1966 and 1996. The French Government has admitted in the past it’s possible the Mururoa atoll could cave in because it has been sapped by the underground tests…

French Nuclear Tests Showered Vast Area of Polynesia With Radioactivity, Guardian UK (07-03-2013)
French nuclear tests in the South Pacific in the 1960s and 1970s were far more toxic than has been previously acknowledged and hit a vast swath of Polynesia with radioactive fallout, according to newly declassified ministry of defence documents…

He’s doing the ‘dirty work’ to keep plastic out of the ocean


“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…”
Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Afroz Shah, a lawyer in Mumbai, hasn’t had a weekend off in four years. But he hasn’t spent this time writing briefs or preparing for court.

His mission? Saving the world’s oceans from plastic pollution…

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

This Mumbai lawyer inspired a massive beach cleanup; PRI (11-14-2017)
Since Oct. 2015, Afroz Shah, a constitutional lawyer and a full time “ocean lover and a beach cleaner,” has been clearing trash for four hours every weekend in what the United Nations has called the world’s biggest beach clean up ever. His efforts have inspired others…

Homeless man cleans up beaches every day, Cape Town; Metro (03-15-2016)
The man is called Dan. He’s 28 and homeless, and he grew up on the Eastern Cape. Every day, he cleans the beaches for no other reason than to ‘make the place nice’ because he’s ’embarrassed about the pollution…’

Collecting plastic waste near coasts ‘is most effective clean-up method’, Guardian UK (01-19-2016)

To clean up ocean plastics, increase focus on coasts, Science Daily (01-19-2016)
The most efficient way to clean up ocean plastics and avoid harming ecosystems is to place plastic collectors near coasts, according to a new study…

Loving the Ocean Starts at Home, National Geographic (09-08-2016)

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…

Newly identified fish nurseries are choked with plastic


“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. Indeed, it is found that debris often accumulates in the animals’ gut and give a false sense of fullness, causing the animal to stop eating and slowly starve to death.” —Captions and Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A new study reveals that it’s not just adult sea animals that are getting a gullet full of plastic. Larval fish are inundated with plastic fragments in their nursery habitats and they’re eating those pieces along with their natural food sources, according to the paper published in the journal PNAS…

Read Full Article; Smithsonian Magazine (11-12-2019)

Bird chick clip on BBC One’s Drowning in Plastic documentary leaved viewers in tears; Country Living (10-02-2018)

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…

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

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…

Microplastic pollution in oceans is far worse than feared, say scientists; Guardian UK (03-12-2018)

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
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…