background preloader

Plastic Breaks Down in Ocean, After All

Plastic Breaks Down in Ocean, After All
August 20, 2009 Though ocean-borne plastic trash has a reputation as an indestructible, immortal environmental villain, scientists announced yesterday that some plastics actually decompose rapidly in the ocean. And, the researchers say, that's not a good thing. The team's new study is the first to show that degrading plastics are leaching potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A into the seas, possibly threatening ocean animals, and us. Scientists had previously thought plastics broke down only at very high temperatures and over hundreds of years. The researchers behind a new study, however, found that plastic breaks down at cooler temperatures than expected, and within a year of the trash hitting the water. The Japan-based team collected samples in waters from the U.S., Europe, India, Japan, and elsewhere, lead researcher Katsuhiko Saido, a chemist with the College of Pharmacy at Nihon University in Japan, said via email. Cooking Up Plastic Soup in the Seas Plastic Breaks Down Fast

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/08/090820-plastic-decomposes-oceans-seas.html

Related:  marine litterPlastic Pollutiondharmarivera

Our Debris Filling the Sea What do a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean and the Antarctic have in common? Unfortunately, it’s marine debris. Even the most remote locations on Earth are fouled by man-made garbage and cast-outs. And a majority of the debris that’s found comes from land-based sources. In one marine protected area off the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, in just one month, 50 metric tons of debris was collected. Are You Polluting Our Waterways with Plastic Microbeads? « Annmarie Gianni Skin CareAnnmarie Gianni Skin Care Have you used those body washes that have little exfoliating beads in them? Did you ever check to see what those beads are made of? If you did, were you able to figure it out from the label? Turns out that in many products, those little natural-looking beads are anything but natural—and thousands of them are now polluting our lakes and streams. Those little exfoliating microbeads in your body wash could be tiny pieces of plastic that will wash down the drain to pollute our waterways. Microbeads in Personal Care Products a Concern

The Story of Bottled Water The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day), employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows virtually free from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call for viewers to make a personal commitment to avoid bottled water and support public investment in clean, available tap water for all. 19-Year-Old's Ocean Cleanup Array Could Clean Half the Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 Years, Study Shows Last year we reported on teenage inventor Boyan Slat’s plans to create an Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. His proposal for an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms received a lot of criticism – but now, just over a year later, Boyan is back with the results of a year-long investigation that shows his invention does offer a feasible method to rid the world’s oceans of plastic pollution. In fact, he claims that a single array could remove half of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years. The year-long study sought to determine if Boyan Slat’s array is indeed a feasible ocean cleanup method. The result?

Why is Plastic Pollution a Problem in Our Oceans? A sea turtle spots a plastic bag floating among the waves. To him, it looks like a jellyfish, its general shape and consistency swaying and catching the light in just the right way. He swims toward it and ingests the bag in one gulp, satisfying his hunger, and then goes on his away. In actuality, that plastic bag lines his gut, causing digestive blockages and the sea turtle’s eventual death from starvation. This is why a sea turtle could confuse a plastic bag with a jellyfish (Plastic Pollution Coalition)

Eco-Cleaning Company Ecover is Making Bottles Out of Recycled Ocean Plastic Right now there are about 46,000 pieces of trash floating around in every square mile of the ocean, which is why Belgian company Ecover is now making their cleaning product packaging from plastic fished out of the sea. Taking plastic right out of the ocean, the company then processes it into detergent and dish soap containers. They are calling their new product the Ocean Bottle in an effort to bring attention to the problem of plastic pollution in our precious waterways. Ocean waste is a major issue in all parts of the globe. Fish in the northern Pacific alone ingest up to 24,000 tons of plastic waste and every year at least one million sea animals die from ingesting sea waste. Once waste gets into the ocean environment, it can take thousands of years to degrade.

21st-Century Capitalism Is Killing Ocean Life  Sea turtle lies lifeless, wrapped in plastic on the shores of Porto de Galinhas beach on January 12, 2017 in Ipojuca, Brazil. (Photo: Marcos Souza/Brazil Photo Press/Getty Images) For 21st century capitalism the more disposable the better. Ocean life and human health be damned. According to a recent Ellen MacArthur Foundation study, the world's oceans are set to have more plastic than fish by 2050. At the current rate of production and disposal the net weight of plastic in the oceans will be greater than that of fish in a little over three decades. Study Finds Rising Levels of Plastics in Oceans Photo Some eight million metric tons of plastic waste makes its way into the world’s oceans each year, and the amount of the debris is likely to increase greatly over the next decade unless nations take strong measures to dispose of their trash responsibly, new research suggests. The report, which appeared in the journal Science on Thursday, is the most ambitious effort yet to estimate how much plastic debris ends up in the sea. Jenna Jambeck, an assistant professor of environmental engineering at the University of Georgia and lead author of the study, said the amount of plastic that entered the oceans in the year measured, 2010, might be as little as 4.8 million metric tons or as much as 12.7 million. The paper’s middle figure of eight million, she said, is the equivalent of “five plastic grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world” — a visualization that, she said, “sort of blew my mind.”

Delhi, India Has Banned All Plastic. Yes, ALL Plastic. - Jane Goodall's Good for All News Every year, roughly 8.8 million metric tons of plastic — the entire amount of plastic we humans produced in 1961 — is swept into the ocean with the devastating future of strangling sea life and polluting plankton. Nearly 60% of that plastic littering the seawater comes from a single country: India. Trailing after China and the United States, India is the largest polluter in the world and is home to 13 out of the top 20 most polluted cities. How Water Works In its purest form, it's odorless, nearly colorless and tasteless. It's in your body, the food you eat and the beverages you drink. You use it to clean yourself, your clothes, your dishes, your car and everything else around you. You can travel on it or jump in it to cool off on hot summer days. Many of the products that you use every day contain it or were manufactured using it.

Risks to Oceans There are three main ways that the ocean water quality is at risk. They are: Litter in the oceans Did you know that the litter on land can end up in the oceans? Marine litter is hard to see because much of it floats under the surface of the water. The Story of Microfibers - The Story of Stuff Project Most of us wear synthetic fabrics like polyester every day. Our dress shirts, yoga pants, fleeces, and even underwear are all increasingly made of synthetic materials — plastic, in fact. But these synthetic fabrics, from which 60% of all clothing on earth is made, have a big hidden problem: when they’re washed, they release tiny plastic bits — called microfibers — that flow down our drains, through water treatment plants, and out into our rivers, lakes and oceans by the billions. Go deeper: Microfibers FAQs Script with Citations Microfibers Research Guide Credits

Related: