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

Fukushima Parents Protest Over New Permissible Radiation Levels

Japanese children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible. The new regulations and new standard of 20 millisieverts a year, equivalent to the annual maximum dose for German nuclear workers, have prompted outcry.

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Japan’s irradiated waters: How worried should we be?

For the oceans, this is the largest accidental release of radiation we have ever seen.

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The Man That Has Been Picking Plastic From Beaches For 7 Years


Francis Picco arrived in Easter Island, Chile, from France for a vacation 15 years ago, and never left. The reason was a local woman who became his wife, and a new found peace he couldn’t trade for anything else. Picco, who has adopted the native name Tutuma, has been recovering plastic garbage from Easter Island’s coastline for over seven years now.

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Summerland Beach’s Oil Seepage Mystery

News, Pollution

Before it became the quaint coastal antiquing capital of the Californian South Coast that it is today, with a reputation for stunningly scenic and often empty beaches, Summerland was the hub of Santa Barbara’s oceanic oil rush at the start of the 20th century, the beach providing ground zero for a series of piers and primitive oil rigs harvesting crude from hundreds of offshore wells.


Plastic Pollution Present on Easter Island’s Beaches

News, Pollution

Easter Island, was the end point of a team of journalists’ trip with the 5 Gyres latest project, exploring plastic pollution in the South Pacific ocean. Upon arrival to one of the world’s most isolated pieces of habitable land, it was not long before the effects of human impact were seen: plastic pollution is taking place on Easter Islands: on the beaches.

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Record trash haul from New Jersey beaches

News, Pollution

In their Annual Beach Sweep report for 2010, released Tuesday, the environmental organization Clean Ocean Action, paints a grim picture of New Jersey beaches. The report broke down the 475,321 pieces of trash its 8,372 volunteers removed from New Jersey beaches during two statewide clean-up events last year.

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Tristan da Cunha islanders rescue penguins threatened by oil slick

News, Pollution

One of the world’s most dramatic wildlife rescues is coming to a successful conclusion on Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. A small, remote coastal community has worked together to save 4,000 endangered oil-covered northern rockhopper penguins, after the freighter MV Oliva ran aground, spilling thick oil.

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Indonesian wins international prize for river clean-up

News, Pollution

A biologist who enlisted schoolchildren in his fight to clean up an Indonesian river that led to an international prize said he hoped young people will do more for the environment.

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Adelaide Sinks Off Avoca Beach, Australia

News, Pollution

After a year of rolling legal action, the scuttling of HMAS Adelaide off Avoca Beach on the NSW central coast was allowed, and the decommissioned warship will become a scuba diving attraction by month’s end. Environmentalists fears lead paint on the Adelaide is a health risk and that the wreck will cause beach erosion and ruin the surf.

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Recent / Pollution

Gravel beaches trapping oil from 1989 Exxon spill

Gravel beaches trapping oil from 1989 Exxon spill

February 16th, 2009

An engineering professor has figured out why oil remains trapped along miles of gravel beaches more than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Prince William Sound.

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E. coli Thrives in Beach Sands

June 4th, 2007

Getting it on your skin is not going to be very dangerous. Just watch what you swallow.

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