Category Archives: Pollution

Australia joins Clean Seas and pledges to recycle or compost 70 per cent of all plastic packaging by 2025


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
Excerpts;

Australia becomes the latest country to join the movement to turn the tide on plastic, as Melissa Price, the country’s minister of the Environment, announces that the country is joining the Clean Seas campaign.

The announcement came on Monday 29 October on the sidelines of the Our Ocean conference in Bali, Indonesia. Australia presented ambitious targets as part of its Clean Seas commitment. Among other things, the country is pledging that 100 per cent of Australia’s packaging will be reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025, 70 per cent will be recycled or composted by 2025, and that problematic and unnecessary single-use packing will be phased out through design, innovation or introduction of alternatives.

The announcement makes Australia the 56th country to sign up to the Clean Seas campaign, joining an ever-growing list of countries that are taking action to tackle marine plastic pollution…

Read Full Article; UNEP (10-30-2018)

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

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…

More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution; Scientific American (07-06-2018)

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.

These 10 companies are flooding the planet with throwaway plastic; Greenpeace (10-09-2018)
Nine months, six continents, 239 cleanup events, and more than 187,000 pieces of trash later, we now have the most comprehensive snapshot to date of how corporations are contributing to the global plastic pollution problem…

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…

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…

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…

You Can Help Turn the Tide on Plastic. Here’s How; The National Geographic (05-26-2018)
Do these six pain-free things, and you’ll help reduce the impact plastic is having on oceans and other waterways around the world…

Dolphins are simplifying their calls to be heard over shipping noise


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The world’s oceans are getting noisier, humming with the near-constant sounds of ship engines, seafloor mining, and oil and gas exploration.

Now, a new study published in the journal Biology Letters has found that dolphins are being forced to simplify their calls in order to be heard over the noise…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (10-24-2018)

Sonic Sea, Film Documentary; NRDC May 19th, 2016
Oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life. But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world. “Sonic Sea” is about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution…

Marine noise pollution stresses and confuses fish; Science Daily (08-10-2017)
Increased noise pollution in the oceans is confusing fish and compromising their ability to recognise and avoid predators…

Ship noise in coastal habitats could interfere with orca’s communication; Science Daily (02-03-2016)

Accoustic Pollution and Marine Mammals, Nature
In the Canary Islands, 14 beaked whales washed ashore bleeding from the ears. All eventually died. A post-mortem examination revealed that the whales showed signs of decompression sickness (what scuba divers call “the bends”). Decompression sickness can occur when a mammal swims to the ocean’s surface too quickly, and the change in pressure produces lethal nitrogen gas bubbles that clog its blood vessels. Evidence of acute decompression sickness indicates unusual behavior. Over the past 40 years, cumulative research across the globe has revealed a coincidence between naval sonar testing events and acute decompression sickness in beached marine mammals…

Whales Benefit From Action On Ocean Noise, BBC News (03-04-2013)

A Rising Tide of Noise Is Now Easy to See, The New York Times (12-15-2012)

Navy study: Sonar, Blasts Might Hurt More Sea Life (05-14-2012)

Accoustic Pollution and Naval Sonar testing, Discover Magazine (01-26-2012)

“FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping,” a movie by multi award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac-©-2016; (03-31-2016)
90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points…

A Silent Victory For Marine Mammals, On Earth Magazine (04-03-2015)
A federal judge stands up to the noisy navy for the sake of marine mammals…

How microplastics, marine aggregates and marine animals are connected


“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.” Caption and Photo by: © SAF — Coastal Care.

Excerpts;

Prior research has suggested that mussels are a robust indicator of plastic debris and particles in marine environments. A new study says that’s not the case because mussels are picky eaters and have an inherent ability to choose and sort their food. Instead, the researchers have discovered that marine aggregates also called “marine snow,” play a much bigger role in the fate of the oceans when it comes to plastic debris.

More than 10 million tons of plastic debris enter the oceans every year and are found in nearly every oceanic layer. They start out as large floating items and eventually break down into much smaller pieces called microplastics. These particles are pervasive and have been found in the digestive tracts of more than 100 different species, posing physical, chemical and even potential biological harm to these animals. Mussels and other bivalves like oysters and clams are eaten whole without removal of the gastrointestinal tract and therefore represent a pathway for microplastics to enter the human food chain…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (10-23-2018)

Plastic pollution has increased a hundredfold in remote parts of the South Atlantic; Yale E360 (10-18-2018)
The amount of plastic debris in the ocean waters of the British islands in the South Atlantic — some of the most remote places on the planet — has increased hundredfold in the last 30 years, according to a new study…

Microplastics pollute most remote and uncharted areas of the ocean; Guardian UK (02-12-2018)

The Arctic is a ‘dead end’ for ocean plastic; MNN (04-24-2017)

Piling up: Drowning in a sea of plastic; CBS News (08-05-2018)
Piece by piece, an environmental threat is piling up, and we’re ALL to blame. Worse yet, even those of us trying to bring an end to the problem may not be doing as much good as we think…

These 10 companies are flooding the planet with throwaway plastic; Greenpeace (10-09-2018)
Nine months, six continents, 239 cleanup events, and more than 187,000 pieces of trash later, we now have the most comprehensive snapshot to date of how corporations are contributing to the global plastic pollution problem…

More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution; Scientific American (07-06-2018)

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)

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…

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…

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

oil-rig
Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history.

Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004…

Read Full Article; The Washington Post (10-21-2018)

Federal records show steady stream of oil spills in gulf since 1964, Washington Post (07-24-2010)
The oil and gas industry’s offshore safety and environmental record in the Gulf of Mexico has become a key point of debate over future drilling, but that record has been far worse than is commonly portrayed by many industry leaders and lawmakers…

Sixty-Seven Years of Oil and Gas Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico: View Interactive Map and Read Full Article, National Geographic (04-20-2015)

3,200 Gulf wells unplugged, unprotected lie abandoned beneath the Gulf of Mexico (04-20-2011)
More than 3,200 oil and gas wells classified as active lie abandoned beneath the Gulf of Mexico, with no cement plugging to help prevent leaks that could threaten the same waters fouled by last year’s BP spill. These wells likely pose an even greater environmental threat than the 27,000 wells in the Gulf that have been plugged and classified officially as “permanently abandoned” or “temporarily abandoned.”

Abandoned oil wells make Gulf of Mexico ‘environmental minefield’, Guardian UK (07-07-2010)
The Gulf of Mexico is packed with abandoned oil wells from a host of companies including BP, according to an investigation by Associated Press, which describes the area as “an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades”.

abandonned oil and gas well gulf of mexico
Detail of a map showing geology, oil (in red) and gas (green) fields, in the Gulf of Mexico Region Illustration: U.S. Geological Survey US Geological Survey

Beaches of Saint-Tropez hit by Mediterranean oil spill


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Some of the oil that leaked from ships involved in an accident in the Mediterranean earlier this month has washed up on the white-sand beaches of the glitzy French resort of Saint-Tropez…

The mayor of the village of Ramatuelle, which lies on the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, told AFP that 16 kilometres (10 miles) of coastline had been affected by the spill…

Read Full Article; MSN (10-16-2018)

Two Ships Collide Off Corsica Causing Three-Mile Long Oil Spill’ The WSJ (10-08-2018)
A containership and a ferry collided off the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea, causing a three-mile long spill of heavy fuel, with French and Italian coastal authorities scrambling to contain it…

Plastic pollution has increased a hundredfold in remote parts of the South Atlantic


“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;

The amount of plastic debris in the ocean waters of the British islands in the South Atlantic — some of the most remote places on the planet — has increased hundredfold in the last 30 years, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology.

Today, the density of plastic near the South Atlantic islands is approaching the pollution levels along industrialized North Atlantic coasts, the study finds…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (10-18-2018)

Microplastics pollute most remote and uncharted areas of the ocean; Guardian UK (02-12-2018)

No escaping ocean plastic: 37 million bits of litter on one of world’s remotest islands, Science Daily (05-15-2017)
The beaches of one of the world’s most remote islands have been found to be polluted with the highest density of plastic debris reported anywhere on the planet, a new study shows…

The Arctic is a ‘dead end’ for ocean plastic; MNN (04-24-2017)

Piling up: Drowning in a sea of plastic; CBS News (08-05-2018)
Piece by piece, an environmental threat is piling up, and we’re ALL to blame. Worse yet, even those of us trying to bring an end to the problem may not be doing as much good as we think…

An ocean of plastic: Magnitude of plastic waste going into the ocean calculated, UCSB Current

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.

What are businesses doing to turn off the plastic tap? UNEP (06-28-2018)

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

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

More plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, Guardian UK (01-19-2016)
One refuse truck’s-worth of plastic is dumped into the sea every minute, and the situation is getting worse, according to a new report launched at the World Economic Forum today. New plastics will consume 20% of all oil production within 35 years, up from an estimated 5% today…

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…

These 10 companies are flooding the planet with throwaway plastic

andaman-south-sentinel
Although inhabited and remote, South Sentinel island is covered with marine debris, mostly plastic. South Sentinel, Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal. Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The equivalent of one truckload of plastic enters the ocean every minute — but where is it all coming from? Up until recently, we weren’t sure. But to solve the plastic pollution crisis, we knew we needed to arm ourselves with the best information possible.

So, together with our partners in the Break Free From Plastic movement, we enlisted the help of 10,000 volunteers across 42 countries to embark on the world’s most ambitious plastic cleanup and brand audit project yet. Nine months, six continents, 239 cleanup events, and more than 187,000 pieces of trash later, we now have the most comprehensive snapshot to date of how corporations are contributing to the global plastic pollution problem.

They are, in order from most to least commonly found in global brand audits:

  • Coca-Cola
  • PepsiCo
  • Nestlé
  • Danone
  • Mondelez International
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Unilever
  • Perfetti van Melle
  • Mars Incorporated
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • And that’s just the top ten out of hundreds of multinational brands contributing to plastic pollution across the globe.

    Now comes the important part: we have to hold these brands accountable for their plastic pollution.

    Let’s talk about Coke. Coke-branded plastic was not only found in 40 of the 42 participating countries, it’s the only brand to rank in the top three on all six continents (just missing Antarctica, but unfortunately there’s plastic there, too). Just last week, the crew on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise even found an intact Coke bottle in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, hundreds of kilometres from any inhabited land.

    As some of the largest companies in the world, Coke, PepsiCo, Nestle, and the others on this list have the chance to be part of the solution to the plastic crisis. Instead, they remain a part of the problem, selling us plastic drink containers and packaging we have no choice but to throw away.

    Here’s how you can call out Coke and all the corporations polluting our oceans for profit.

    We all have a role to play in tackling plastic pollution. But the reality is, individual consumers are already bearing the burden of this crisis. We’re swapping plastic bottles for reusable glass and metal, ditching disposable straws, avoiding unnecessary packaging in our grocery stores, and cleaning up our beaches as best we can. But there’s only so much we can do if companies don’t step up and provide more sustainable choices.

    To solve this problem, we need to change the entire system — from how our products are made to what happens when we’re done with them. And we need corporations to be part of the solution.

    Here’s what you can do. Whenever you see a piece of plastic where it doesn’t belong, pick it up, take a photo, and share it on social media using #IsThisYours. Don’t forget to tag the brand!

    Together, we can be the generation that ends ocean plastic pollution. Don’t forget to read the full Break Free From Plastic global brand audit report for more information on the corporations contributing to ocean pollution — and what you can do about it.

    Read Full Article; Greenpeace (10-09-2018)

    The Brand Audit Report, Break Free From Plastic (2018)

This floating pipe is trying to clean up all the plastic in the ocean


Plastic pollution. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A 2,000 foot-long floating pipe nicknamed Wilson is about to start its mission to collect all the plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Last month, the Ocean Cleanup foundation launched the world’s first ocean cleanup system out of San Francisco to take on the notorious “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a giant floating trash pile between San Francisco and Hawaii that is twice the size of Texas. It’s the largest of five ocean trash piles on Earth…

Read Full Article; CNN (10-11-2018)

Remember that kid who invented a way to clean up ocean plastic? He’s back, and it’s happening; MNN (09-04-2018)
Boyan Slat’s solar-powered booms will soon be in the Pacific Ocean…

Inventor tries to conquer the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”; CBS News (09-07-2018)
A ship on Saturday will start towing a long device from Northern California more than 1,000 miles out to sea to begin scooping up a massive heap of trash that’s estimated to weigh 88,000 tons. It may look like a giant pipeline, but the 2,000-foot-long contraption will soon be cleaning up what’s known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” made up of an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of floating plastic…

Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Project Launches Historic First Prototype at Sea, EcoWatch (06-23-2016)
Boyan Slat’s ambitious plan to rid the world’s oceans of plastic has taken another step towards reality with its first prototype to be tested at sea. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, founded by the 21-year-old Slat, has deployed a 100-meter clean-up boom today in the North Sea in The Netherlands…

Boyan Slat to Deploy ‘Longest Floating Structure in World History’ to Clean Ocean Plastic; EcoWatch (06-03-2015)

20 Years Old Aeronautical Engineer Boyan Slat Now Has the Funds to Build His Ocean Cleanup Machine, Business Week (09-17-2014)

An ocean of plastic: Magnitude of plastic waste going into the ocean calculated, UCSB Current

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…

Why Durban only got two Blue Flag beaches

durban-south-africa
Durban, South Africa. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Durban was the first South African city to implement the international Blue Flag program.

The scheme is an international award which recognises outstanding compliance with bathing-water quality and sewage-treatment regulations. It aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches‚ marinas and inland bathing waters around the world.

In South Africa‚ the Blue Flag programme is managed by the Wildlife and Environment Society (Wessa) and participating coastal municipalities…

Read Full Article; Times (10-15-2018)

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…’