Unprecedented Plastic Pollution
When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide
By Claire Le Guern Lytle
The world population is living, working, vacationing, increasingly conglomerating along the coasts, and standing on the front row of the greatest, most unprecedented, plastic waste tide ever faced.
Washed out on our coasts in obvious and clearly visible form, the plastic debris spectacle blatantly unveiling on our beaches is only the prelude of the greater story that unfolded further away in the the world's oceans, yet mostly originating from where we stand: the land.
In 2008, our global plastic consumption worldwide has been estimated at 260 million tons. 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. Read More
By Linda Pilkey-Jarvis
Beaches and river shorelines all over the world are at risk from oil spills. Spills are most likely to occur while oil is transported or transferred between oil tankers, barges, pipelines, refineries, and distribution or storage facilities. Spills may also occur during natural disasters (such as hurricanes), or through deliberate acts by countries at war, sunken ships, vandals, or illegal dumpers. Read More
By Bekah Barlow
Did you know that it's legal to dump trash in the ocean? Yes, there are limitations for what you can and cannot dump. But it is perfectly acceptable to dump your raw sewage, paper, rags, glass, metal, bottles, or similar refuse, as long as you are at least 12 miles away from the nearest shoreline. It is not permissible to dump plastics anywhere. Read More
Surfing in / Pollution
The world recycles just 14% of the plastic packaging it uses. Even worse: 8m tons of plastic, much of it packaging, ends up in the oceans each year. 30% (by weight) of the plastic packaging isn’t recycled because the material is contaminated or too small for easy collection, has very low economic value or contains multiple materials that cannot be easily separated.
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Microplastics from tyres and textiles are a bigger source of marine pollution than the breakdown of larger plastic waste in some areas, says the IUCN. The IUCN reviewed data from seven global regions to look at how much of the estimated 9.5 million tonnes of new plastic waste released into the oceans each year comes from primary microplastics.
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Indonesia will declare its commitment to combat plastic debris in marines on Feb 23 when it hosts the fourth World’s Ocean Summit in Bali, the country’s environment minister said.
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Seagrass meadows – bountiful underwater gardens that nestle close to shore and are the most common coastal ecosystem on Earth – can reduce bacterial exposure for corals, other sea creatures and humans, according to new research.
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Even on such a soggy, San Francisco day, people still enjoy city beaches. It’s incredible that 19th-century legislators had the foresight to preserve coastal areas as a public right in the California Constitution. For more than 40 years, the California Coastal Act has further protected “maximum access” to the coast “for all the people.”
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The Mariana Trench in the northern Pacific is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. You might think a place that remote would be untouched by human activity. But the Mariana Trench is polluted.
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To surf, or not to surf. That’s the question many of us frequently face, when a deluge falls from above, surface streets are lined with tributaries, and bacterial runoff rushes towards the ocean. The Surfrider Foundation just completed a three-year study exploring the dangers of surfing during or after a rain.
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Scientists in Norway found more than 30 plastic bags and other plastic waste inside the stomach of a whale stranded off the coast.
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China’s rapid ascent to global economic superpower is taking a toll on some of its ancient ways, patterned around the vast fisheries of the East China Sea. But now those waters are increasingly threatened by human-caused, harmful algal blooms that choke off vital fish populations.
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