Plastic Oceans | Facts | Waste | Plastic Oceans The proliferation of plastic products in the last 70 years or so has been extraordinary; quite simply we cannot now live without them. This epidemic of plastic has resulted in an increased introduction from around 50 million tonnes in 1950 to 245 million tonnes in 2008 (Plastics Europe). Plastic is cheap and incredibly versatile with properties that make it ideal for many applications. However, these qualities have also resulted in it becoming an environmental issue. According to water filtration company Brita, Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year.Packaging is the largest end use market segment accounting for just over 40|% of total plastic usage (Plastics Europe)Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide.
The Recycling Reflex Fixes looks at solutions to social problems and why they work. What if there were something that could create 1.5 million new jobs, reduce carbon emissions equal to taking 50 million cars off the road, cut dependence on foreign oil, increase exports, save water, improve air quality and reduce toxic waste? What if it were low-cost and readily implemented? Wouldn’t everyone do it? At a time of wildfires, droughts and persistent unemployment, wouldn’t it be a centerpiece of the presidential campaign? A drive to make the act of recycling as automatic as stopping at a red light. Well, there is such a thing. The numbers in the first paragraph come from a report prepared by the Tellus Institute for the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups entitled “More Jobs, Less Pollution” that estimates the impact of raising the country’s recycling rate to 75 percent. Moreover, recycling is great for a struggling economy because it is labor intensive. So why don’t people recycle more?
The Response » THE CLEAN OCEANS PROJECT Our Organization The Clean Oceans Project (TCOP) is a 501c3 non-profit created to develop efficient and effective methods of eliminating plastic from the ocean. Our Plan TCOP’s multi-phase approach involves research, education and direct action integrated into a cohesive long-term plan. Training shoreline surveyors creates local awareness and promotes ocean stewardship. To measure progress we monitor plastic debris deposition rates at isolated shore stations which is far more accurate than oceanic sampling. Disposal TCOP will utilize plastic-to-fuel conversion systems on board collection vessels to transform plastic into diesel fuel eliminating the need to dispose of the waste in a landfill and providing fuel for collection operations. Long Term Commitments TCOP is committed to a comprehensive global approach to plastic pollution. We are committed to research and technical innovation to facilitate an accurate awareness of plastics pollution. Support and Funding Our Message
Almost all world’s oceans damaged by human impact, study finds | Environment Just 13% of the world’s oceans remain untouched by the damaging impacts of humanity, the first systematic analysis has revealed. Outside the remotest areas of the Pacific and the poles, virtually no ocean is left harbouring naturally high levels of marine wildlife. Huge fishing fleets, global shipping and pollution running off the land are combining with climate change to degrade the oceans, the researchers found. Furthermore, just 5% of the remaining ocean wilderness is within existing marine protection areas. “We were astonished by just how little marine wilderness remains,” says Kendall Jones, at the University of Queensland, Australia, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, who led the new research. Jones said the last remnants of wilderness show how vibrant ocean life was before human activity came to dominate the planet. Much of the wilderness is in the high seas, beyond the protected areas that nations can create. As most are on the high seas, very few are protected.
Home microplastics - rivers & lakes too click 2x When you think of microplastic pollution, plastic debris less than five millimetres in size, you likely envision the ocean — probably because ocean gyres gained notoriety for being a microplastic soup. But what about our lakes, rivers, forests and fields? They can be just as contaminated with microplastic debris as the oceans. Until recently, these environments were described as conduits — ways for plastics to get to the oceans. We now know that agricultural land, surface waters, freshwater lakes and river sediments are also contaminated. In the past five years, researchers have started to study the sources, fates and effects of microplastics in freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, but only a handful of studies have been done so far. Microplastics in our Great Lakes Here in North America, when we think of freshwater, we often think of the Laurentian Great Lakes. For the Indigenous peoples of Canada, the Great Lakes hold even more importance. Contaminated habitats, contaminated wildlife
India just banned all forms of disposable plastic in its capital | The Independent India’s capital city Delhi has introduced a ban on disposable plastic. Cutlery, bags, cups and other forms of single-use plastic were prohibited by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). There is particular concern in the country about the amount of plastic waste it produces. According to the Times of India, it is responsible for an astonishing 60 per cent of the plastic that is dumped in the world’s oceans every year. The ban affects the whole National Capital Territory (NCT) area of Delhi. It was introduced after complaints about the illegal mass burning of plastic and other waste at three local rubbish dumps, which has been blamed for causing air pollution. The Tribunal said in a statement: “Each of these sites is a depiction of the mess that can be created for environment and health of people of Delhi. “We direct that use of disposable plastic is prohibited in entire NCT of Delhi. “The Delhi government shall take steps for storage and use of plastic materials.” Reuse content
Our Debris Filling the Sea | Ocean Today 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. That’s equivalent to 50 elephants worth of trash. And no matter what location it resides, it causes problems. There are no easy solutions to the worldwide problem of marine debris, but there are things you can do to help. We can recycle more, volunteer to clean up coastlines, and give support to programs that are tackling the issue in creative ways. Ultimately, the most effective way to reduce our waste is to not create it in the first place.
Threats to Ecosystems Anything that attempts to alter the balance of the ecosystem potentially threatens the health and existence of that ecosystem. Some of these threats are not overly worrying as they may be naturally resolved provided the natural conditions are restored. Other factors can destroy ecosystems and render all or some of its life forms extinct. Here are a few: Habitat Destruction Economic activities such as logging, mining, farming and construction often involve clearing out places with natural vegetative cover. Pollution Water, land and air pollution all together play a crucial role in the health of ecosystems. Eutrophication This is the enrichment of water bodies with plant biomass as a result of continuous inflow of nutrients particularly nitrogen and phosphorus. Invasive species Any foreign specie (biological) that finds its way into an ecosystem, either by natural or human introduction can have an effect on the ecosystem. Overharvesting UV Radiation
A Little Earth Day Trash Talk | NOAA's Marine Debris Blog By: NOAA Marine Debris Program Staff Let’s kick off this Earth Day celebration, with some “Trash Talk”! The marine debris kind of course. As a gift to our ocean planet, today we’re releasing our first video “What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?” from our upcoming “Trash Talk” series with NOAA Ocean Today. Like this: Like Loading... Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris.
What is an ecosystem? What is an Ecosystem? An ecosystem includes all of the living things (plants, animals and organisms) in a given area, interacting with each other, and also with their non-living environments (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere). Ecosystems are the foundations of the Biosphere and they determine the health of the entire earth system. In an ecosystem, each organism has its own niche or role to play. Consider a small puddle at the back of your home. In it, you may find all sorts of living things, from microorganisms to insects and plants. This very complex, wonderful interaction of living things and their environment, has been the foundations of energy flow and recycle of carbon and nitrogen. Anytime a ‘stranger’ (living thing(s) or external factor such as rise in temperature) is introduced to an ecosystem, it can be disastrous to that ecosystem. Usually, biotic members of an ecosystem, together with their abiotic factors depend on each other.
Learning can be fun, free and fast with eschooltoday The Tree of Hope - A compilation of messages World Environment Day, 5 June 2011 Celebrating the International Year of Forests 2011 The Tree of Hope A compilation of messages The ‘Tree of Hope’ was one of the popular attractions of the ICIMOD Open House Day 2011, held on 12 March. What were the messages? Messages of all kinds adorned the tree; some reflected on the values of forests, their spiritual significance, their role in sustaining all kinds of biodiversity, and their tangible and intangible services to people. The message from the youngest one read, “People cut trees and I don’t like it”. Here we make an effort to compile the essence of all the messages as take-home statements that may inspire us to be responsible on our part.