Tag: plastic debris

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Study finds sources of ocean plastic

 Ocean Conservancy recently released a study that notes that five countries - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand - account for nearly three-fifths of the estimated annual input of plastic into the global ocean, due to these nations' inadequate waste disposal and collection systems.The study concludes that by implementing fundamental waste management systems in the five nations, the amount of plastic entering the global ocean could be cut by 45%. At a glanceAt least 80 percent of ocean plastic comes from land-based sources, but the actual number is probably much higher.Three-fourths of land-sourced ocean plastic comes from uncollected waste or litter, while the remainder comes from gaps in the collection system itself.Low-residual-value plastic waste is more likely to leak than high-value plastic.Collected and uncollected plastic waste enters the ocean from five physical locationsImported end-of-life plastic contributes to the waste stream in China but is not a significant contributor in the Philippines.Treat waste by using gasification or incineration with energy recoveryIn the short term (by 2020), improving collection infrastructure and plugging postcollection gaps reduce annual leakage by nearly 50 percent.In the medium term (by 2025), the development of commercially viable waste treatment can reduce annual leakage by an additional 16 percent, ...

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Products contain microplastics that can harm marine life

A team of researchers from Plymouth University and the University of Exeter in the UK published last week a research on microplastic entitled as ''Mircoplastic Moves Pollutants and Additives to Worms Reducing Functions Linked to Health and Biodiversity'' . The research reveals that microplastics may transfer toxins such as those that make up flame retardants into the guts of lugworms.

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Focus on micro-plastics in the marine environment

Experts review the growing problems caused by micro-plastics International experts have met in London to review the growing problems in the marine environment caused by micro-plastics - tiny pieces of plastic or fibres which may act as a pathway for persistent, bio-accumulating and toxic substances entering the food chain.The experts form a key working group (WG-40) under the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), an advisory body that advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the Administrative Secretariat of GESAMP, which has, to date, produced more than 85 reports, including numerous in-depth technical studies contributing to the assessment on the state of the global marine environment.The working group, which was meeting for its second session (from 23 to 25 July), completed a draft assessment report, covering the inputs of plastics and micro-plastics into the ocean, from land- and sea-based human activities; the mechanisms and rates of particle degradation and fragmentation; the processes controlling particle transport and accumulation; the interaction of micro-plastics with organisms, and potential physical and chemical impacts; and public perceptions about marine litter in general and micro-plastics in ...

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Focus on plastic degradation in the ocean

DNV and WWF to develop a research concept vessel DNV and WWF have announced ideas on how to develop a research concept vessel that can address the seemingly intractable problems associated with cleaning up the plastic debris that is accumulating in the world's ocean gyres. The pathways and degradation processes of plastic in the ocean are still largely unknown, and to enable efficient clean-up these knowledge gaps need to be filled.Plastic is estimated to take 10-500 years to degrade in the ocean. By initiating an action plan and developing a design concept for a specialised research vessel, DNV hopes to demonstrate a practical way forward to reduce the problem and to build global support for action.By 2020, there will be an estimated 230 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean, most of it from land sources or as a result of marine activities. It has been shown to accumulate in the relatively still waters inside the five large ocean gyres.While this accumulation may seem to facilitate its collection and removal, the massive scale of the problem and many unknown variables make this an extremely challenging prospect. For example, to skim the surface layer of the five large gyres would take ...

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Researchers: Ocean Garbage Gyre Impacting Sea Life

Increase in plastic debris floating in a zone between Hawaii and California An increase in plastic debris floating in a zone between Hawaii and California is changing the environment of at least one marine critter, scientists reported.Over the past four decades, the amount of broken-down plastic has grown significantly in a region dubbed the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Most of the plastic pieces are the size of a fingernail.During a seagoing expedition, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found that a marine insect that skims the ocean surface is laying its eggs on top of plastic bits instead of natural flotsam like wood and seashells.Though plastic debris is giving the insects places to lay eggs, scientists are concerned about the manmade material establishing a role in their habitat."This is something that shouldn't be in the ocean and it's changing this small aspect of the ocean ecology," said Scripps graduate student Miriam Goldstein.The finding will be published online Wednesday in Biology Letters, a journal of Britain's Royal Society.Goldstein led a group of researchers who traveled 1,000 miles off the California coast in August 2009 to document the impacts of the garbage on sea life. For three weeks, they collected marine ...

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