How America Is Sabotaging The Global War On Plastic Waste

Most nations have banded together to tackle the crisis, but the U.S. keeps undermining their efforts.

By Dominique Mosbergen

When President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan Save Our Seas Act into law last October, he painted a grim picture of just how dire marine plastic pollution had become.

“Every year, over 8 million tons of garbage is dumped into our oceans,” he declared. “This waste, trash and debris harms not only marine life, but also fishermen and coastal economies along America’s vast stretches.”

While it is true that Asia is the source of an estimated 80% of marine plastic pollution, what Trump failed to mention was that most of it doesn’t actually originate there.

“It’s an uncomfortable fact that ... the vast majority of the waste in these Asian countries that are ending up in the oceans actually come from the U.S. and Europe,” David Azoulay of the Center for International Environmental Law said from Geneva on Thursday.

The U.S., which is one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of plastic, is also the No. 1 exporter of plastic scrap

For decades, it sent much of this waste to China, which had processed about 45% of the world’s plastic scrap until it decided in 2018 to bar most of these imports. As a result, China’s Southeast Asian neighbors have been deluged with American plastic waste. Unlike China, however, countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam have neither the infrastructure nor the resources to properly handle this onslaught.

As a HuffPost investigation uncovered earlier this year, bales of plastic trash from countries like the U.S., U.K. and Australia are being illegally dumped or burned across Southeast Asian countries. Local activists in Malaysia said at the time that the U.S. and other wealthy nations were using the region as a “dumping ground.”

Read Full Article at Source Here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/plastic-regulation-us-obstruction-basel-convention_n_5cde76f0e4b00e035b8da236?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9uZXdzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20v&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAJkWm03r_Hj1sC3ruPTD0zmD7F0DTjMfZPfvgi9gkCEJVTld1vuxwu4zfDb7HEMZ6w5L5TpBAqjrgytlHnZcRPcvlECCVomBYrw8FXrjMtzLKXKwtWcxBiB4ylWEqGDpwzTRoZZkQ6z9EBff4fcEXMGjiKEvV8SU-Voi4c7GRidn

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UN adopts global treaty limiting plastic waste trade

By STEVE TOLOKEN

Hoping to slow plastic pollution in the environment, members at a high-level United Nations meeting May 10 decided to include plastic waste in a treaty governing trade in hazardous waste.

The changes in the Basel Convention, which were pushed by Norway and adopted by the 187-nation body, create a legally-binding and potentially far-reaching framework that will put tighter controls on buying and selling of plastic scrap and waste.

At a news conference at the close of the meeting in Geneva, U.N. officials also made note of huge petition drives on social media urging the Basel negotiators to act on plastics waste.

"Plastic waste is acknowledged as one of the world's most pressing environmental issues, and the fact that this week close to 1 million people around the world signed a petition urging Basel Convention Parties to take action here in Geneva ... is a sign that public awareness and desire for action is high," said Rolph Payet, executive secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, a U.N. agency.

Read Full Article at Source: https://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20190510/NEWS/190519991/un-adopts-global-treaty-limiting-plastic-waste-trade

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London Marathon Runners Were Handed Seaweed Pouches Instead Of Plastic Bottles


Trevor Nace
Contributor

London Marathon runners were given a surprising thirst quencher during their run: edible seaweed pouches filled with a sports drink.

The seaweed pouch campaign during the marathon, which took place yesterday on April 28, 2019, helped to reduce the use of hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles. Marathon organizers have grappled with the sea of plastic bottles left over after over 40,000 runners quenched their thirst with single-use bottles of water and sports drink.

However, in the 2019 London Marathon organizers planned to replace 200,000 plastic bottles with innovative seaweed pouches filled with a sports drink. The seaweed pouches, called Ooho, were produced by Skipping Rocks Lab. The seaweed capsules can be bitten to release the liquid inside and eventually entirely consumed, or if the runner prefers not to eat the seaweed film it can be discarded where it will break down quickly.

Read full article at Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2019/04/29/london-marathon-runners-were-handed-seaweed-pouches-instead-of-plastic-bottles/#22dc028b2ba2


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Miniature transponder technology to be used in the war against ocean plastic

by Newcastle University

Low-cost acoustic tags attached to fishing nets are being trialled as part of a major new project to reduce marine litter and 'ghost fishing'.

Lost fishing gear—known as ghost nets—are a major threat to life in our oceans. Choking coral reefs, damaging marine habitats and entangling fish, marine mammals and seabirds, they are also a danger to boats, catching in the propellers. And they are a key source of plastic pollution, gradually breaking up and disintegrating to add to the growing volume of microplastics in the ocean.

Often lost during storms or in strong currents, the nets can travel long distances and can continue to fish for years afterwards—hence the phrase ghost fishing. Because of this, locating and removing the nets is both highly desirable and a major challenge.

The new NetTag project has been set up to try to reduce and prevent marine litter by developing new technology for the location and recovery of lost fishing gear based on miniature transponders—acoustic devices that pick up and automatically respond to an incoming signal. The project also aims to promote improved practices for the management of fishing waste.

The project is a collaboration between Newcastle University (UK) who develop underwater communication and tracking technology, CIIMAR (PT), INESC-TEC (PT), and the Universities of Aveiro (PT) and Santiago de Compostela (ES), together with stakeholders from the fishing industry across Europe.

Read full article at Source here: https://phys.org/news/2019-04-miniature-transponder-technology-war-ocean.html

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This state is poised to become the first to ban foam food packaging

Maryland's three-year effort built on public opinion that reached a "tipping point." BY LAURA PARKER

MARYLAND IS EXPECTED to become the first U.S. state to ban foam food packaging, takeout containers and cups—and the latest in a growing worldwide effort to ban various disposable single-use plastic products.

The new proposed law passed both of the state’s legislative chambers this week with enough votes to override a potential veto signed by Gov. Larry Hogan, who has not publicly signaled whether he supports the law or not. The law would become the latest in a growing effort worldwide to ban an assortment of disposable, single-use plastic products, due to their impacts on the environment. Hogan reportedly has six days to sign or veto the law.

Prior to the statewide ban effort, Maryland’s two most populous counties—Prince George’s and Montgomery, which both border Washington, D.C.—had already banned foam packaging.

Del. Brooke Lierman (D-Baltimore), who sponsored similar legislation last year and in 2017, says changing public opinion helped her third attempt succeed (it was approved 100-37 in the House of Delegates).

“I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” she says. “People are seeing how ubiquitous single-use plastics are, that they are not recyclable and never going away. People are beginning to understand the importance of living more sustainably.”

Read full article at source here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/04/maryland-styrofoam-food-packaging-ban/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=social::src=twitter::cmp=editorial::add=tw20190410env-styrofoamban::rid=&sf210759299=1

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Is a Snickers Wrapper Hazardous Waste? Limiting the trade in certain plastics isn’t going to mitigate the threat to the environment.

By Adam Minter

April 27, 2019, 5:00 PM PDT

A plastic water bottle, a Snickers wrapper and a container of detergent are dropped into a recycling bin. Are they hazardous waste? They could be, according to a Norwegian government proposal, which marks the latest effort by activists and government officials to tackle the growing tide of plastics threatening the ocean.

The proposal has good intentions: It aims to mitigate the overflow of plastics across the globe, which surged when China stopped importing recycled materials last year. But it’s not going to save the oceans. Quite the contrary: By imposing new layers of red tape, it’s more likely to inhibit the re-use of plastics, promote landfilling and incineration, and intensify the use of virgin raw materials, including petrochemicals.

Over the past two decades, Chinese recyclers and manufacturers developed a cottage industry finding value in rich countries’ leftover materials, eventually becoming the world’s top buyers of scrap plastics. Beijing, determined to boost the fortunes of China’s domestic players, then severely restricted the import of scrap recyclables, including plastics, on Jan. 1, 2018.

Since then, that plastic has found its way to other countries. Many of China’s recyclers and manufacturers relocated abroad, especially in nearby Southeast Asia, where they can import freely. In principle, that’s not a bad thing. Even before the trade war, Chinese manufacturing was moving into lower-cost neighbors, and recyclers were following. Since the imposition of U.S. tariffs on China, that process has continued and even accelerated. It’s only natural that the raw material suppliers — especially the recyclers — follow the manufacturers.

See Full Article at Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-04-28/exporting-fewer-plastics-won-t-save-the-ocean

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In some countries, people face jail time for using plastic bags. Here are all the places that have banned plastic bags and straws so far.

Aylin Woodward

New York state lawmakers have approved a state-wide plastic bag ban, which will go into effect in March 2020.

  • Similar bans are already in effect in California, Hawaii, and more than 32 countries. Some places tax plastic bags in lieu of a ban.

  • Shoppers use 500 billion single-use plastic bags worldwide every year.

  • These bags typically end up in landfills or the ocean. More than 100,000 marine mammals get entangled in plastic bags and die annually.

  • Other cities and companies have also banned single-use plastic straws.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York legislature have approved a new fiscal budget that includes a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags.

When the ban goes into effect on March 1, 2020, New York will become one of three US states that doesn't allow these bags. (The others are California and Hawaii.)

"The convenience of plastic bags is simply not worth the environmental impact," New York State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie told the Associated Press. "By reducing our state's usage, we will see less litter in our communities and less plastic pollution in our waterways."

Shoppers worldwide use some 500 billion (yes, billion) single-use plastic bags annually. That's roughly 150 bags per year for every person on Earth, according to the nonprofit group Ocean Crusaders. Strung end-to-end, that's enough plastic to circle the globe 4,200 times.

On average, a plastic bag has only a 12-minute lifespan, according to Reusethisbag, an organization that sells sustainable grocery bags.


Read Full Article at Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/plastic-bans-around-the-world-2019-4

The average lifespan of a plastic bag is 12 minutes.   Getty Images / Jeff J. Mitchell

The average lifespan of a plastic bag is 12 minutes.

Getty Images / Jeff J. Mitchell

In Ancient Oceans That Resembled Our Own, Mass Extinction Was Triggered By Oxygen Loss

by Zachary Boehm, Florida State University

Roughly 430 million years ago, during the Earth's Silurian Period, global oceans were experiencing changes that would seem eerily familiar today. Melting polar ice sheets meant sea levels were steadily rising, and ocean oxygen was falling fast around the world.

At around the same time, a global die-off known among scientists as the Ireviken extinction event devastated scores of ancient species. Eighty percent of conodonts, which resembled small eels, were wiped out, along with half of all trilobites, which scuttled along the seafloor like their distant, modern-day relative the horseshoe crab.

Now, for the first time, a Florida State University team of researchers has uncovered conclusive evidence linking the period's sea level rise and ocean oxygen depletion to the widespread decimation of marine species. Their work highlights a dramatic story about the urgent threat posed by reduced oxygen conditions to the rich tapestry of ocean life.

See Full Article at Source: https://phys.org/news/2019-03-ancient-oceans-resembled-oxygen-loss.html

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A Troubling Discovery in the Deepest Ocean Trenches In the Mariana Trench, the lowest point in any ocean, every tiny animal tested had plastic pollution hiding in its gut.


ED YONG

Alan Jamieson remembers seeing it for the first time: a small, black fiber floating in a tube of liquid. It resembled a hair, but when Jamieson examined it under a microscope, he realized that the fiber was clearly synthetic—a piece of plastic. And worryingly, his student Lauren Brooks had pulled it from the gut of a small crustacean living in one of the deepest parts of the ocean.

For the past decade, Jamieson, a marine biologist at Newcastle University, has been sending vehicles to the bottom of marine trenches, which can be as deep as the Himalayas are tall. Once there, these landers have collected amphipods—scavenger relatives of crabs and shrimp that thrive in the abyss. Jamieson originally wanted to know how these animals differ from one distant trench to another. But a few years ago, almost on a whim, he decided to analyze their body for toxic, human-made pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which have been banned for decades but which persist in nature for much longer.

The team found PCBs galore. Some amphipods were carrying levels 50 times higher than those seen in crabs from one of China’s most polluted rivers. When the news broke, Jamieson was inundated with calls from journalists and concerned citizens. And in every discussion, one question kept coming up: What about plastics?

Read Full Article at Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/02/deepest-ocean-trenches-animals-eat-plastic/583657/

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The Ocean Is Running Out of Breath, Scientists Warn Widespread and sometimes drastic marine oxygen declines are stressing sensitive species—a trend that will continue with climate change

By Laura Poppick on February 25, 2019

Escaping predators, digestion and other animal activities—including those of humans—require oxygen. But that essential ingredient is no longer so easy for marine life to obtain, several new studies reveal.

In the past decade ocean oxygen levels have taken a dive—an alarming trend that is linked to climate change, says Andreas Oschlies, an oceanographer at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany, whose team tracks ocean oxygen levels worldwide. “We were surprised by the intensity of the changes we saw, how rapidly oxygen is going down in the ocean and how large the effects on marine ecosystems are,” he says.

It is no surprise to scientists that warming oceans are losing oxygen, but the scale of the dip calls for urgent attention, Oschlies says. Oxygen levels in some tropical regions have dropped by a startling 40 percent in the last 50 years, some recent studies reveal. Levels have dropped more subtly elsewhere, with an average loss of 2 percent globally.

See Full Article at Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-ocean-is-running-out-of-breath-scientists-warn/

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The major source of ocean plastic pollution you’ve probably never heard of

“Nurdles” may sound cute but they pose a huge risk to the marine environment. Also known as “mermaid tears”, these small plastic pellets are a feedstock in the plastic industry. Instead of being converted into household items, many end up in the ocean, collecting toxins on their surfaces and being eaten by marine wildlife. Not so cute now, are they?

Nurdles are the building blocks for most plastic goods, from single-use water bottles to televison sets. These small pellets – normally between 1mm and 5mm – are classed as a primary microplastic alongside the microbeads used in cosmetic products – they’re small on purpose, as opposed to other microplastics that break off from larger plastic waste in the ocean.

The small size of nurdles makes them easy to transport as the raw material which can be melted down and moulded into all kinds of plastic products by manufacturers. Unfortunately, mismanagement of these little pellets during transport and processing leads to billions being unintentionally released into rivers and oceans through effluent pipes, blown from land or via industrial spillage.


Read Full article at Source: https://theconversation.com/the-major-source-of-ocean-plastic-pollution-youve-probably-never-heard-of-111687?fbclid=IwAR2U9l0SSRMiWTdMbs7876GNRY0aCrjsgIKAKFmZD2NYA-r6nKIbrFAX4Zo

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The World’s Biggest Brands Want You to Refill Your Orange Juice and Deodorant. P&G, Nestlé and others try to curb plastic waste; Tropicana in glass bottles, Tide in metal cans

By Saabira Chaudhuri

Jan. 24, 2019 3:00 a.m. ET

The world’s biggest makers of shampoo, detergent and packaged food will test selling their products in reusable containers, adopting a milkman-style model to address mounting concerns about plastic waste.

Procter & Gamble Co. PG -1.20% Nestlé SA, NSRGY +0.50% PepsiCo Inc. PEP -1.00% andUnilever UL -0.90% PLC are among 25 companies that, this summer, will start selling some products in glass, steel and other containers designed to be returned, cleaned and refilled.

Critics question whether the project will achieve scale in the face of high costs and entrenched consumer behavior. But, if successful, the companies say the efforts will reduce waste from single-use packaging. It could also be a way to woo eco-conscious consumers, glean data and foster brand loyalty.

“I sometimes wonder if it’s a fair accusation that we’re in the branded litter business,” Unilever Chief Executive Alan Jope said at a conference Tuesday, adding that the company must do more on plastic waste. “That’s what people care about right now.”

See Full Article at Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/big-brands-to-test-refillable-containers-11548316801

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Industry group seeks to maintain single-use plastic status quo

By Perry Wheeler

January 14, 2019

Washington, DC – In an effort to preserve their ability to produce cheap single-use plastics, several fossil fuel companies and a fast moving consumer goods company united to launch the Alliance to End Plastic Waste today. The group, which includes Exxon, Dow, Total, Shell, Chevron Phillips, and Procter & Gamble, will look to commit $1.5 billion toward keeping plastics out of the environment, rather than prioritizing the reduction of single-use plastic production.

In response to the group’s announcement, Greenpeace Global Plastics Project Leader Graham Forbes said:

“This is a desperate attempt from corporate polluters to maintain the status quo on plastics. In 2018, people all over the world spoke up and rejected the single-use plastics that companies like Procter & Gamble churn out on a daily basis, urging the industry to invest in refill and reuse systems and innovation. Instead of answering that call, P&G preferred to double down on a failed approach with fossil fuel giants like Exxon, Shell, Dow and Total that fuel destructive climate change. Make no mistake about it: plastics are a lifeline for the dying fossil fuel industry, and today’s announcement goes to show how far companies will go to preserve it.

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“These corporations are scared of our momentum and know we will continue to fight for real systemic change, because that’s what is needed to protect our oceans and people worldwide. The same companies that rely on cheap plastics to profit off of countries in the Global South are now looking to build up some infrastructure so they can claim they tried to tackle the plastics problem, while ensuring their profits keep rolling in. The truth is we will never escape this plastic pollution crisis through better recycling and waste management efforts — only 9 percent of the plastics ever made have actually been recycled. But corporations love to use recycling as a crutch to continue production of cheap plastics.

Real Full Article at Source: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/industry-group-seeks-to-maintain-single-use-plastic-status-quo/

Plastic in the ocean: Plastic producers team up and pledge $1bn to combat the plastic problem

JESSICA TAYLOR 
Plastic-producing companies around the world have teamed up and committed to investing more than $1 billion to cut our plastic waste.

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), made up of almost 30 companies, will build solutions that will reduce the amount of plastic created and help deal with single-use plastic that has been disposed of.

The AEPW also announced plans to build better infrastructures for waste management in large urban areas and potential partnerships with organisations such as the United Nations to train government officials in solving the plastic problem.

David Taylor, chairman of AEPW and CEO of Procter & Gamble, said: “Everyone agrees that plastic waste does not belong in our oceans or anywhere in the environment. 

“This is a complex and serious global challenge that calls for swift action and strong leadership. This new alliance is the most comprehensive effort to date to end plastic waste in the environment.”

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Taylor urged other companies to join the partnership to help in the fight against plastic.

The AEPW, made up of companies from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, will also be supporting the Renew Oceans project, which is running an ocean cleanup project with a particular focus on the River Ganges. 

Read Full Article at Source: https://www.standard.co.uk/futurelondon/theplasticfreeproject/plastic-in-the-ocean-pollution-1-billion-investment-a4042881.html

Recycling is not enough. Zero-packaging stores show we can kick our plastic addiction

Wrapped, sealed, boxed, cling-filmed and vacuum packed. We have become used to consumables being packaged in every way imaginable.

The history of “packaging” goes back to the first human settlements. First leaves, gourds and animals skins were used. Then ceramics, glass and tin. Then paper and cardboard. But with the invention of plastic and the celebration of “throwaway living” since the 1950s, the environmental costs of an overpackaged world have become manifest.

Plastic now litters the planet, contaminating ecosystems and posing a significant threat to wildlife and human health. Food and beverage packaging accounts for almost two-thirds of total packaging waste. Recycling, though important, has proven an incapable primary strategy to cope with the scale of plastic rubbish. In Australia, for example, just 11.8% of the 3.5 million tonnes of plastics consumed in 2016-2017 were recycled.

See Full Article at Source: https://theconversation.com/recycling-is-not-enough-zero-packaging-stores-show-we-can-kick-our-plastic-addiction-106357

To get to a circular economy we have to change not just the cup, but the culture

Lloyd Alter 

January 8, 2019

Single use plastics drive the linear economy, and it is really hard to bend that into a circle.

TreeHugger has followed Triple Pundit since it started. (Its founder, Nick Aster, helped build TreeHugger and managed our technical side for the first three years.) Mary Mazzoni of 3P recently wrote 8 Things That Moved the Circular Economy Forward in 2018 and illustrated the post with an image of the new Starbucks cup and sippy lid that they are rolling out and that Katherine covered earlier this year.

The circular economy, as defined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, "entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system." It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution

  • Keep products and materials in use

  • Regenerate natural systems

Read Full Article at Source: https://www.treehugger.com/plastic/if-you-want-circular-economy-you-have-change-our-culture-not-cup.html

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The answer to plastic pollution is to not create waste in the first place

By Monica Wilson

With China refusing foreign waste under its new policy, countries are forced to handle their own plastic pollution

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As holiday shopping ramps up, so do the dizzying varieties of plastic packaging tossed in recycling bins. And while we wish a Christmas miracle would transform this old garbage into something new, the reality is the waste left over from the holiday shopping frenzy is more likely than ever to end up in a landfill or incinerator. Until January of this year, the United States and other Western countries were foisting their low-value plastic waste on to China, with little concern for the environmental degradation this caused. To protect its citizens from the burden of foreign pollution, in the beginning of this year, China refused to be the world’s dumping ground and effectively closed its doors to plastic waste imports.

China’s new National Sword policy of refusing foreign waste has brought a long-overdue moment of reckoning for the recycling industry, and by proxy, for manufacturers. It’s clear recycling alone cannot come close to addressing the ballooning amounts of plastic waste piling up all over the country. Even before China’s waste ban took effect,only 9% of plastic in the US was actually recycled. No matter how diligently Americans sort their plastic waste, there is just too much of it for the US, or any other country, to handle.

On the bright side, the ban sparked a much needed conversation about improving domestic recycling infrastructure and recycling markets, and has forced both companies and the public to re-evaluate the products and packaging that were previously assumed to be recyclable. 

See Full Article Here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/26/pollution-plastic-waste-environment-china

Microplastics found to permeate the ocean’s deepest points

One liter of water from the Mariana Trench contains thousands of tiny plastic pieces, according to new research.

BY SARAH GIBBENS

PUBLISHED DECEMBER 6, 2018

LIKE THE FOOD particles that clump together in the middle of a kitchen sink, plastic debris is gathering in the deepest reaches of the ocean.

A new study published in Geochemical Perspectives found evidence of microplastic (plastic smaller than five millimeters) gathering in large quantities in the deepest parts of the oceans, and that could account for “missing” plastic that has stumped scientists to date.

A team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science analyzed thirteen regions by looking at previous studies and collecting their own samples. Earlier this year, a plastic bag was found in the deepest reaches of the Mariana Trench, 36,000 feet below the surface. Researchers spotted it while using video to survey the region for plastic debris.

To better understand plastic that can't as easily be spotted, the Chinese researchers analyzed water samples and broke out the amount of microplastic they found in a single liter, about four cups.

Read article at source here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/12/microplastic-pollution-is-found-in-deep-sea/

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Initiative launches to unite superyacht industry against single-use plastics

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21 NOVEMBER 2018

BY MIRANDA BLAZEBY

A new environmental initiative targeting the superyacht industry's plastic consumption has been launched.

Founded in 2017, the Clear Ocean Pact launched at the Superyacht Forum last week and aims to motivate the sector to reduce its dependency on plastics.

The foundation presented its five point plan, which aims to raise the awareness of the sector's plastic footprint and “change its mindset” towards single use plastics.

It encourages them to seek out "viable alternatives, innovations and ideas" instead.

The foundation estimates that every 10,000 crew consumes 3.2 million plastic water bottles a year, equalling 100 tonnes of single use waste.

See Full Article at Source: https://www.boatinternational.com/yachts/news/initiative-launches-to-unite-superyacht-industry-against-single-use-plastics--38889?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BOAT%20Briefing%20%20Daily%20Newsletter%20%2022%20November%202018&utm_content=BOAT%20Briefing%20%20Daily%20Newsletter%20%2022%20November%202018+CID_634c698a1b5067c5bac7e9845807bc92&utm_source=email&utm_term=READ%20MORE

Oceans Have Absorbed 60% More Heat Than Scientists Thought

By Olivia Rosane

Nov. 01, 2018 07:00AM EST

The landmark report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published last month warned that humans needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 for us to have a shot at limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Now, another study published in Nature Wednesday found we might have even less time than that. This is because the oceans have been absorbing much more heat than previously calculated, meaning the earth is more sensitive to carbon dioxide emissions than scientists thought.

"We thought that we got away with not a lot of warming in both the ocean and the atmosphere for the amount of CO2 that we emitted," research leader and Princeton University geoscientist Laure Resplandy told The Washington Post. "But we were wrong. The planet warmed more than we thought. It was hidden from us just because we didn't sample it right. But it was there. It was in the ocean already."

How Much More Warming Is This?

In the past 25 years, the oceans have warmed 60 percent more than previously thought.

What Does This Mean?

It means that policy makers now have even less leeway when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions if they want to keep warming to 1.5 or even 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The findings reduce the total amount of carbon dioxide humans can safely burn before crossing those thresholds by 25 percent.

They also have implications for the ocean-related impacts of climate change: the health of marine life and the pace of sea level rise.

Read Full Article at Source: https://www.ecowatch.com/oceans-heat-absorption-climate-change-2617077826.html

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