Tag: plastic debris

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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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Plastic Pollution in the Oceans is Causing Problems

For Whales, too Every year, humans consume 70 million tons of seafood. Though this is an astonishing volume-one that has aserious impact on ocean populations-it cannot compare to sperm whales which consumer more than 100 million tons of seafood annually. Most of this consists of squid and small fish but-increasingly-plastic trash is making its way into the whales' diet as well.Sperm whales, specifically, have been identified as one of the most intelligent species in the ocean-if not on the planet. They posses the largest brains of any known animal-living or extinct-and use sounds and sonar to communicate with one another,organize into social groups, and evenidentify individuals by name.The cosmopolitan species has found great success and managed to establish itself in all of the world's oceans and many of the major seas. One of the keys to this success is their ability to dive deep below the surface-with some dropping nearly two miles-to find food. Even so, they have not been able to escape the scourge of ocean plastic pollution that has also impacted fish, turtles, and birds.Though hunting of sperm whales has been regulated since just after WWII, threats like pollution continue to threaten the species. The problem with ocean ...

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Filmmaker sounds alarm over ocean of plastic

Over the past year he has been following the menace of plastic On Midway atoll in the North Pacific, dozens of young albatross lie dead on the sand, their stomachs filled with cigarette lighters, toy soldiers and other small plastic objects their parents have mistaken for food.That sad and surreal sight, says Hong Kong-based Australian film director Craig Leeson, is one of the manysymptoms of a plague afflicting the world's oceans, food chains and human communities: the onslaught of discarded plastic."Every piece of plastic ever made since the fifties exists in some shape or form on the planet," Leeson told AFP. "We throw plastic into a bin, it's taken away from us and we never see it again -- but it still comes back at us."Over the past year, Leeson has been following the menace of plastic from Sardinia to Canada to the Indian Ocean for a film that aims to combine the art of nature documentary with a campaigning quest.Provisionally called "Away", the film -- backed by David Attenborough and the UK-based Plastic Oceans Foundation -- brings together new research on the spread of plastic with missions by "explorers" such as Ben Fogle to show the diverse effects of ...

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