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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

Deep ocean wilderness destruction By Severin Carrell, 16 October 2005 The deep ocean is one of the world's last great wildernesses. But not for long. These unique species include the goblin shark which boasts a unicorn-like horn, prickly sharks with humped backs and glowing eyes, vast single-celled organisms as large as footballs and tripod fish that stand on their fins. In a letter passed to The Independent on Sunday, Britain's leading marine scientists have warned these species face extinction because of the global growth in deep-sea trawlers fishing for edible species such as the orange roughy, hoki and round-nosed grenadier. The damage is indiscriminate, they warned. Held down by rows of steel rollers weighing up to 200kg each, those nets are meanwhile devastating the ancient coral beds and sea mounts which are the home to the deep sea's marine life by scraping the sea bed clean. Some corals, such as the seafan, can be 1,000 years old.

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.” Ms. Plastics have been spotted in the oceans since the 1970s.

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 According to recent news reports, tiny bits of plastic from body washes and other products are polluting the great lakes. The problem is that these little balls of plastic are less than a millimeter across in size, so they’re too small be be caught by water treatment plants. “We’re plasticizing our water,” said Sherri Mason, principal investigator for the study. Plastics May be Contaminated with Other Toxins Johnson & JohnsonUnileverThe Body Shop

Oceana (Oceana) - National Science Digital Library World's oceans in 'shocking' decline 20 June 2011Last updated at 13:24 By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News Coral reefs are subject to "multiple stressors" that could destroy many within a human generation The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists. In a new report, they warn that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history". They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised. The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity. The panel was convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and brought together experts from different disciplines, including coral reef ecologists, toxicologists, and fisheries scientists. Its report will be formally released later this week. Fast changes This increases the amounts of these pollutants that are consumed by bottom-feeding fish.

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NASA Visualizes The World’s Ocean Currents, Van Gogh-Style NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio created an animation visualizing how water moves around the world. The video ‘Perpetual Ocean’ shows the surface current flow of oceans around the world, from July 2005 to November 2007. The white lines represent the currents, while the darker blue colors represent the “bathymetry” (ocean topography), according to Fast Co. Design. The mesmerizing video—which resembles Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’—was assembled through a combination of satellite, location and computational data generated by ECCO2 (Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase 2). [via Fast Co. Receive interesting stories like this one in your inbox

Autumn Color At the Very Least, Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over Opinion by Gary Stamper The heart-breaking news from Fukushima just keeps getting worse…a LOT worse…it is, quite simply, an out-of-control flow of death and destruction. TEPCO is finally admitting that radiation has been leaking to the Pacific Ocean all along. and it’s NOT over…. I find myself moving between the emotions of sorrow and anger. It now appears that anywhere from 300 to possibly over 450 tons of contaminated water that contains radioactive iodone, cesium, and strontium-89 and 90, is flooding into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Daichi site everyday. There’s a lot you’re not being told. above: German Scientists have calculated the dispersion of Cs-137 in the Pacific Ocean WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE PACIFIC OCEAN FOOD CHAIN? A WARNING TO SEAFOOD LOVERS EVERYWHERE – Scientists previously reported higher-than-expected concentrations of radiation in fish off Japan. Australian Physician and anti-nuclear advocate Dr. Japan Nuclear Crisis: The Dangers of Radiation

Satellites glimpse ultra-powerful “black hole” whirlpools in Atlantic Satellites have shown two mysterious 'black hole' whirlpools in the South Atlantic ocean - ultra powerful “vortexes” which suck water down into the depths. The whirpools - never witnessed before - would suck down ships, debris and even living creatures, moving 1.3 million cubic metres of water per second. Two of the black holes - or “maelstroms” - have been sighted in three months by physicists from Zurich and Miami. The powerful vortices of current have been described as ‘maelstroms’ and are ‘mathematical analogues’ for black holes – which is to say they do exactly the same with water that black holes do with light. A whirlpool pictured by NASA. The discovery could give new insights into how oceanic currents transport debris and may even have implications for climate change studies. Astronomical black holes bend space and time into a perpetually collapsing vortex. Top panel: Evolution of black-hole eddies (extracted from 3 months of data) in the South Atlantic over a period …