The many lifetimes of plastics

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
“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…”— Claire Le Guern, author of “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide” ©.


Infographics strive to give us a sense of how long plastic goods will last in the environment. But is this information reliable?

The long-standing mystery around the life expectancy of plastic goods has prompted a new study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution looking at how the lifetime estimates of straws, cups, bags, and other products are being communicated to the public via infographics.

To their surprise, there was little consistency in the lifetime estimates numbers reported for many everyday products, like plastic bags, among the materials. The scientists published their findings on June 10, 2020, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…

Read Full Article, WHOI (06-15-2020)

Original OpEd: “Opinion: We need better data about the environmental persistence of plastic goods” Pnas (06-1o-2020)
Plastic pollution is one of the most visible and complex environmental issues today. Interested and concerned parties include researchers, governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, industry, media, and the general public. One key assumption behind the issue and the public outcry is that plastics last indefinitely in the environment, resulting in chronic exposure that harms animals and humans. But the data supporting this assumption are scant…

Microplastics are everywhere, study finds; PhysOrg (05-13-2020)

Americans Consume Tens of Thousands of Microplastic Particles Every Year; Yale E360 (06-05-2019)
Americans consume more than 70,000 microplastic particles every year from the food they eat, the water they drink, and the air they breathe, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Scientists warn that while the health impacts of ingesting these tiny particles are largely unknown, there is potential for the plastic to enter human tissues and cause an immune response, as well as release toxic chemicals into the body…

Plastic Pollution: When The Mermaids Cry, The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care
Washed out on our coasts in obvious and clearly visible form, the plastic pollution spectacle blatantly unveiling on our beaches is only the prelude of the greater story that unfolded further away in the world’s oceans, yet mostly originating from where we stand: the land…

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