Scientists used video and trawl surveys to take nearly 600 samples from 32 sites in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans and the Mediterranean Sea, from depths of 35 metres to 4.5 kilometres. They found rubbish in every Mediterranean site surveyed, and all the way from the continental shelf of Europe to the mid-Atlantic ridge, around 2,000km from land. Read more
Marine litter, long a neglected topic, has started to garner some attention. Marine litter is composed of a diverse mix of items from various sources and so a one-size fits all solution is unlikely to be effective. Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), plastic packaging (bottles, caps, bags, etc.) and plastic manufacturing pellets are amongst the most common and persistent items found. Comparing the feasibility and the financial case for recovery versus prevention for each of these groups reveals a worrying gap in our attempts to deal with the problem. Read more
California has become an interesting test-case for both approaches to one plastic problem.
Back in 2006, California passed a law that mandated a system for recycling plastic shopping bags. Today, supermarkets and other large stores have receptacles where plastic bags can be returned for recycling.
However, a recent report from the Associated Press found that it’s difficult to measure how successful this program has been. They found that the data collected by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has not been analyzed since 2009, when about 3 percent of bags made it to recycling. The department did provide reporters with the raw data: Read more
With recent reports on the staggering amount of plastic waste floating in our oceans, rivers and lakes, it is high time we start doing something about this problem. Recycling is good, but for many reasons, it is not the answer to the global plastic pollution. We must all learn how to reduce the amount of plastic waste we are producing in the first place. Here are my five favorite ways to reduce your personal plastic footprint.
Bring Your Own Bag
“Paper or plastic?” was once the inquiry of bag-boys in supermarkets around the country. But a growing conscience concerning the frivolous abuse of single-use plastic grocery bags has finally taken hold in the U.S. Around the world, from Australia to Ireland, communities have been enacting bag bans for almost a decade. Read more
Led by Dr Kathy Townsend, Manager of Research and Education at UQ’s Moreton Bay Research Station, the group found that marine rubbish was the leading cause of sea turtle deaths in 2007. Read more
The real impact of plastic bag litter is felt on wildlife both in the marine environment and in rural areas.
Tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals and turtles are killed every year from plastic bag litter in the marine environment as they often mistake plastic bags for food such as jellyfish.
Plastic bags, once ingested, cannot be digested or passed by an animal so it stays in the gut. Plastic in an animal’s gut can prevent food digestion and can lead to a very slow and painful death. Read more
Plastic bag use has become ubiquitous in many parts of the world as a cheap and convenient means of transporting items. Meant for one-time usage, plastic bags have left a deep imprint on the planet. All over the world, countries are taking action by either banning lightweight plastic bags, charging for them or generating taxes from the stores that sell them. Among the countries that have banned plastic bags outright are Rwanda, China, Taiwan and Macedonia. In the United States over 100 counties and municipalities have banned plastic bags, with California being the first to impose a statewide ban. Read more