Plastic Pollution

Photo: Manan Vastsyayana Photo: Manan Vastsyayana

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


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

U.S. EPA Reverses Obama-Era Request for Methane Emission Data from Oil and Gas Companies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it will no longer ask oil and gas well operators to submit information about their equipment or methane emissions. Methane is short-lived, but powerful greenhouse gas. Over the short term, it can trap heat at least 30 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide, and is thought to be responsible for about a quarter of modern global warming.

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Cost-effective solutions to sediment runoff and other land-based pollution affecting West Maui reefs

Land-based pollutants have been linked to the degradation of several Hawaiian reefs. Between 2000 and 2015, coral cover on West Maui’s northern reefs has dramatically declined from 30 percent to 10 percent.

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Abandoned oil wellhead exposed after rains wash away sand at Summerlamd Beach; CA

News, Pollution
Feb
28

There are dozens of old wells at Summerland Beach which was once a bustling oil field, pumping out oil and gas from the Santa Barbara Channel. Wells were later abandoned, and leaks started springing up on the sand and in the water..

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UN Declares War on Ocean Plastic

News, Pollution
Feb
23

UN Environment launched today an unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022.

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Only 14% of plastics are recycled – can tech innovation tackle the rest?

News, Pollution
Feb
22

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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Plastic from tyres ‘major source’ of ocean pollution

News, Pollution
Feb
22

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 to declare war on marine plastic debris: Environment minister

News, Pollution
Feb
19

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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Underwater seagrass beds dial back polluted seawater

Inform, Pollution
Feb
19

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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Line drawn in the sand between beach access and protection

Inform, Pollution
Feb
15

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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Recent / Pollution

Underwater seagrass beds dial back polluted seawater

February 19th, 2017

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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Line drawn in the sand between beach access and protection

February 15th, 2017

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.”

Read More

Pollution Has Worked Its Way Down To The World’s Deepest Waters

February 13th, 2017

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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The Dangers of Surfing After a Rain

February 8th, 2017

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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Whale found dying off coast of Norway with 30 plastic bags in its stomach

February 6th, 2017

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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Increasing factory and auto emissions disrupt natural cycle in East China Sea

February 3rd, 2017

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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Substance in crude oil harms fish hearts, could affect humans as well

January 31st, 2017

Exposure to oil can cause severe cardiovascular effects in fish. Experiments provide direct evidence of how phenanthrene, an oil pollutant found in water, air and soil, causes irregular heartbeat and weaker contractions of heart cells.

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Oil: Keeping Atlantic Drilling Ban Meets Climate Goals

January 30th, 2017

With much of the Atlantic and Arctic waters no longer up for grabs for offshore drilling, the U.S. is on the right track to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2040.

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Kenya: Marine debris threaten to suffocate sea animals

January 29th, 2017

Marine researchers spotted a dolphin suffocating in a plastic bag last week in Watamu, Kenya. The incident, the first to be witnessed there, has raised concern on the safety of the millions of sea animals in the Indian Ocean waters due to the increased cases of plastic waste.

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Plastic you can drink: A solution for pollution?

January 25th, 2017

Entrepreneurs from Bali, studied the emerging field of bioplastics and devised their own recipe using cassava starch, vegetable oil, and organic resins. The resulting “100% bio-based” material was biodegradable and compostable, breaking down over a period of months on land or at sea, or instantly in hot water.

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