Plastic Pollution

Photo: Manan Vastsyayana Photo: Manan Vastsyayana

Unprecedented Plastic Pollution
When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide

By Claire Le Guern

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

Oil Pollution

Treasure Island, Florida

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Oil spills on the worlds beaches and in the worlds oceans

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

Trash Pollution

Ocean Pollution... and Ocean Polluters

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

Dramatic rise in plastic seabed litter around UK

News, Pollution

An average of 358 litter items were found per square kilometre of seabed in 2016, a 158% rise on the previous year, and 222% higher than the average for 1992-94. Almost 78% of the litter is plastic.

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Taste, not appearance, drives corals to eat plastics

News, Pollution

Scientists have long known that marine animals mistakenly eat plastic debris because the tiny bits of floating plastic might look like prey. But a new Duke University study of plastic ingestion by corals suggests there may be an additional reason for the potentially harmful behavior.

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Once-pristine Arctic choking on our plastic addiction

Inform, Pollution

Earlier this year a global team of scientists sounded another alarm, revealing what they called the next major threat to the polar bears’ Arctic habitat: plastic.

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Microplastics in the Baltic have not risen for 30 years

News, Pollution

The concentration of microplastics in water and fish from the Baltic Sea has been constant for the past 30 years, despite a substantial increase in plastic production during the same period, report investigators.

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Prozac in ocean water a possible threat to sea life

Inform, Pollution

Oregon shore crabs exhibit risky behavior when they’re exposed to the antidepressant Prozac, making it easier for predators to catch them, according to a new study from Portland State University (PSU).

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Even modest oil exposure can harm coastal and marine birds

Many birds and other wildlife die following an oil spill, but there are also other potential long-terms effects of oil exposure on animals.

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Scientists find new source of radioactivity from Fukushima disaster: in sand and groundwater

Scientists have found a previously unsuspected place where radioactive material from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster has accumulated—in sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles away. The sands took up and retained radioactive cesium originating from the disaster in 2011 and have been slowly releasing it back to the ocean.

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Ecological roulette”: Sea creatures hitchhike across Pacific on tsunami debris

Nearly 300 species of fish, mussels and other sea critters hitchhiked across the Pacific Ocean on debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, washing ashore alive in the United States. It is the largest and longest marine migration ever documented.

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Brain damage in fish from plastic nanoparticles in water

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.

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Recent / Pollution

Ship exhaust makes oceanic thunderstorms more intense

September 12th, 2017

Thunderstorms directly above two of the world’s busiest shipping lanes are significantly more powerful than storms in areas of the ocean where ships don’t travel, according to new research.

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Sea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic, studies show

September 8th, 2017

New studies find microplastics in salt from the US, Europe and China, adding to evidence that plastic pollution is pervasive in the environment.

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Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

September 6th, 2017

Tests show billions of people globally are drinking water contaminated by plastic particles, with 83% of samples found to be polluted. The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled.

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Birling Gap beach: 150 treated after chemical ‘mist’, UK

August 28th, 2017

About 150 people have been treated in hospital and hundreds more affected by an unknown gas which hit the East Sussex coast.

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Kenya brings in world’s toughest plastic bag ban: Using plastic bags is illegal — and punishable by jail time

August 28th, 2017

No matter where you go in Kenya — from the vast expanses of the Great Rift Valley to the white-sand beaches off the Indian Ocean — one thing is a constant: plastic bags. But beginning today, almost all plastic bags are illegal in Kenya.

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New App enables divers to chart marine litter levels

August 26th, 2017

A new smartphone app is enabling scuba divers across the world to easily record information on the marine litter they encounter under the sea.

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Beirut’s beaches blighted by the rubbish crisis

August 7th, 2017

Lebanon’s coastline is changing dramatically, with new planned landfill sites that will extend hundreds of metres into the Mediterranean that, amazingly, seem to bother few politicians. Many are persuaded that waste is inert though that is hardly the case with significant environmental damage that will leave an impact on future generations.

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Current threats to our oceans revealed

August 5th, 2017

A survey of tens of thousands of marine studies from the last decade reveals current threats to our marine environment. These include: the effects of climate change, marine plastic pollution, conservation, as well as social and economic impacts.

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Plastic garbage patch bigger than Mexico found in Pacific

July 25th, 2017

Yet another floating mass of microscopic plastic has been discovered in the ocean, and it is mind-blowingly vast.

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The Remote Paradise with a Plastic Problem

July 24th, 2017

In the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, far from the urban, developed world, there is a small, lush, green island with white sand beaches. However, this uninhabited, remote corner of the tropics—Henderson Island—also has a trash problem.

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