All posts in category Clean Oceans
All My Ocean News posts filled under Clean Oceans
By: Courtney Arthur, Marine Debris Research Coordinator
New exhibit called “Plastics Unwrapped” takes a look at the cultural changes that have led to the increasing use of plastics in the last 50 yrs. @University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
See on marinedebrisblog.wordpress.com
Posted by Domino on February 16, 2013
Less than half of the 280 million metric tons of plastic produced each year ends up in the landfill. A fair bit of the rest ends up littering the landscape, blown by the wind or washed down streams and rivers into the sea.
So far Americans spend $520 million a year to clean up plastic litter washing up on West Coast beaches and shorelines. Efforts to clean up the oceans’ enormous swirling gyres of garbage has an incalculable cost. Thus, much of the focus has been on how to stop the river of trash from entering the ocean.
A team of 10 scientists has come up with an idea of how to make that happen: reclassify the most harmful plastic waste as hazardous material. That simple adjustment, the scientists write in the journal Nature, could trigger sweeping changes in how environmental agencies clean up plastic waste, spur innovation in polymer research and replace problematic plastics with safer ones.
See on www.latimes.com
Posted by Domino on February 16, 2013
The ubiquitous use of tiny fragments of plastic in cosmetics seems to be a serious problem for the marine environment. Am I right, and what can be done about it?
It is true that microscopic particles of polyethylene now bob around the high seas. It’s also true that the origins of these microplastics are likely to be consumer products. Washing your face can be an act of pollution if you use a cleaner that contains zillions of plastic microbeads for exfoliation. Too small to be sifted out at sewage treatment plants, they end up in the ocean, where the plastic becomes a persistent pollutant. As sea temperatures are low, plastic does not biodegrade; it is also ingested by wildlife. How could they avoid it? In some seas plastic fragments are more plentiful than plankton.
So let’s dry our guilt-induced “mermaid tears” – as these polluting plastic particles are poetically known – and face this issue. Largely this involves staring down the behemoth cosmetics industry, which has developed something of a dependency on fragments of plastic – apparently even some companies that send out beautiful sustainable messages about other parts of their supply chain.
So why use such an ugly ingredient? …
Continue reading on www.guardian.co.uk
Posted by Domino on December 9, 2012
There’s more plastic polluting the world’s oceans than previously thought, according to a new study. Earlier studies failed to include the role of wind.
Tiny, confetti-sized pieces of plastic litter the world’s oceans, and it’s not a pretty picture for marine life.
But before scientists can assess the damage caused by plastic pollution, they need to determine how much of this junk is out there.
A new study indicates that past estimates of marine plastic waste have been too low. Previous studies did not include the effects of wind on plastic particles in the water.
“By factoring in the wind, which is fundamentally important to the physical behavior, you’re increasing the rigor of the science and doing something that has a major impact on the data,” Giora Proskurowski, an oceanographer at the University of Washington and one of the new study’s authors, said in a press release.
Proskurowski and his team collected samples at several depths ranging from the surface to 100 feet down. They combined this data with wind measurements to develop a mathematical model that allows them to more accurately estimate plastic waste totals.
The team concluded that there is, on average, about two and a half times more plastic waste in the oceans than originally thought. And in very windy conditions, plastic estimates could be lowballed by as much as a factor of 27.
Proskurowski plans to further improve the model by studying other factors that influence the movement of plastic pieces in the ocean including, drag, turbulence, and wave height.
He hopes his efforts to improve the accuracy of plastic waste estimates will inform people and potentially empower to do something about it. “On this topic, what science needs to be geared toward is building confidence that scientists have solid numbers and that policy makers aren’t making judgments based on CNN reports.”
The study was published this month in Geophysical Research Letters.
See on www.csmonitor.com
Posted by Domino on April 28, 2012
A huge Buddha statue looks over the bay in 2011 in the tsunami-devastated city of Kamaishi, Japan
One year ago, a series of events began with an earthquake off the cost of Japan that culminated in the largest accidental release of radioactivity into the ocean in history.
We have to be careful and say “accidental” because in the late 1950s and early 1960s, 50 to 100 times more radioactivity was released worldwide as fallout from the intentional testing of nuclear weapons. The word “ocean” is also important, since Chernobyl in 1986 was hundreds of miles inland, so it had a smaller impact on the concentrations of radionuclides in the sea than was measured directly off Japan in 2011.
One year later, we have to ask, what do we know about Fukushima’s impact on the ocean and levels of radioactive contaminants in water and fish? read more via edition.cnn.com
Posted by Domino on March 11, 2012