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

Beach cleanups are missing millions of pieces of plastic

News, Pollution
May
19

In the last decade, beach cleanups have grown into a global phenomenon, with volunteers gathering at regular intervals for the Sisyphean task of cleaning up plastic trash. Now, a new research suggests that beach cleanups can inadvertently mask the full scale of plastic pollution, much of which lies below the sand’s surface.

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Explorer says record-breaking deep dive “opening the door for science”

News, Pollution
May
14

An American diver set a new record for the deepest dive in history last month when he plunged nearly 36,000 feet. Though he was the first to make it to those depths, man’s impact is already present there with plastic scattered among the sea creatures.

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Over 180 countries -not including the US– agree to restrict global plastic waste trade

News, Pollution
May
11

The governments of 187 countries have agreed to control the movement of plastic waste between national borders, in an effort to curb the world’s plastic crisis — but the United States was not among them.

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The Toll of Tourism: Can Southeast Asia Save Its Prized Natural Areas?

From Thailand to Bali, a huge increase in tourists, many from China and other rapidly developing economies, is straining sensitive ecosystems to the breaking point. Some countries are trying to control the boom, with a few closing popular destinations to allow damaged areas to heal.

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Continuing impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Nine years ago tomorrow, April 20, 2010, crude oil began leaking from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico in what turned out to be the largest marine oil spill in history. A long-term study suggests the oil is still affecting the salt marshes of the Gulf Coast.

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Carnival Cruise Ship is on probation for polluting the ocean. They’re still doing it.

News, Pollution
Apr
17

In the year after Carnival Corporation was convicted of systematically dumping oily waste into the ocean and lying about it to regulators, its ships illegally discharged more than a half-million gallons of treated sewage, gray water, oil and food waste, and burned heavy fuel oil in ports and waters close to shores around the world.

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Plastic in the North Atlantic has tripled since the 1960s

News, Pollution
Apr
16

For more than 60 years, scientists in the U.K. have been collecting data on marine plastic, assembling one of the most comprehensive datasets on how much plastic has filtered into the North Atlantic ocean.

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Micro plastics are raining down from the sky

News, Pollution
Apr
15

In what looks like a pristine, remote mountain region, tiny pieces of plastic pollution were found raining down from the sky—raising questions about the global extent of plastic pollution—a first-of-its-kind study has found.

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Scientists Say They Have Found a Viable Replacement for Petroleum-Based Plastic

News, Pollution
Apr
11

Scientists at Ohio State University say they have developed a viable alternative to petroleum-based plastic food packaging by using natural tree-based rubber.According to the researchers, the new biodegradable material holds promise for fighting the world’s growing plastic pollution problem, as well as for helping curb our reliance on fossil fuels.

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Recent / Pollution

Plastic in the North Atlantic has tripled since the 1960s

April 16th, 2019

For more than 60 years, scientists in the U.K. have been collecting data on marine plastic, assembling one of the most comprehensive datasets on how much plastic has filtered into the North Atlantic ocean.

Read More

Micro plastics are raining down from the sky

April 15th, 2019

In what looks like a pristine, remote mountain region, tiny pieces of plastic pollution were found raining down from the sky—raising questions about the global extent of plastic pollution—a first-of-its-kind study has found.

Read More

Scientists Say They Have Found a Viable Replacement for Petroleum-Based Plastic

April 11th, 2019

Scientists at Ohio State University say they have developed a viable alternative to petroleum-based plastic food packaging by using natural tree-based rubber.According to the researchers, the new biodegradable material holds promise for fighting the world’s growing plastic pollution problem, as well as for helping curb our reliance on fossil fuels.

Read More

Artist replaces sand with microplastic found on beaches in contemporary hourglass

April 7th, 2019

Designer Brodie Neill has created a contemporary hourglass filled with microplastic instead of sand to highlight the issue of ocean plastic pollution. The Capsule hourglass, which is filled with microplastic collected by Neill from beaches in Tasmania where he grew up, is an open-edition piece.

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Coral study traces excess nitrogen to Maui wastewater treatment facility

April 3rd, 2019

A new method for reconstructing changes in nitrogen sources over time has enabled scientists to connect excess nutrients in the coastal waters of West Maui, Hawaii, to a sewage treatment facility that injects treated wastewater into the ground.

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Pregnant whale washed up in Italian tourist spot had 22 kilograms of plastic in its stomach

April 1st, 2019

The carcass of a pregnant sperm whale that washed up in Sardinia, Italy, last week had 22 kilograms (49 pounds) of plastic in its stomach, and was carrying a dead fetus, the country’s environment minister and a marine life non-profit organization said.

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Sea anemones are ingesting plastic microfibers

March 30th, 2019

Tiny fragments of plastic in the ocean are consumed by sea anemones along with their food, and bleached anemones retain these microfibers longer than healthy ones, according to new research.

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Why do Garfield phones keep washing up on this beach?

March 29th, 2019

For three decades it was a mystery that seemed to defy belief. Bright orange plastic novelty phones shaped like the grumpy cartoon cat Garfield kept washing up on the rocky Atlantic shoreline of Brittany, in western France.

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Hudson river shows signs of rebound after decades as New York’s sewer

March 28th, 2019

New York’s Hudson river, once known as America’s Rhine in a nod to the famous European waterway, played a pivotal role in bolstering American power at the cost of decades of foul pollution.

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Thirty years after Exxon Valdez, the response to oil spills is still all wrong

March 26th, 2019

Chemicals used to clean up spills have harmed marine wildlife, response workers and coastal residents. The EPA must act

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