Study documents rising amount of sea-bottom debris
There’s more direct evidence that plastic pollution is increasing rapidly in the remote Arctic Ocean, according to German scientists, who have tracking sea-bottom litter at two research stations since 2002. The Hausgarten deep-sea observatory network includes a total of 21 stations in the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard.
New website highlights the widespread problem of plastic debris
Microplastic pollution is widespread in many rivers flowing into the Great Lakes, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists who recently took water samples from 29 Great Lakes tributaries in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and New York. The researchers found microplastics in all those streams, which together make up about 22 percent of the water flowing into the Great Lakes.
After years of studies showing how plastic microbeads are polluting streams, lakes and oceans, the U.S. is set to adopt a new law that will phase out the manufacture of plastic microbeads by July 1, 2017 and the sale of beauty products containing plastic microbeads by July 1, 2018.
Similar to California’s historic microbead ban signed into law earlier this year, the Microbead Free Waters Act (H.R. 1321) bans all plastic microbeads, including those made from so-called “biodegradable plastics,” the majority of which do not biodegrade in marine environments.
The law is a big win for the environment, where the microbeads have been found in birds, crabs and fish, making their way through the food chain.
Given the fact that microplastic debris is so widespread, it’s probably no surprise that the Rhine — Europe’s workhorse river — has been found to be among the most polluted by plastic.
The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area has the highest concentration, at about 2,333,665 particles per square kilometer, with a peak at Rees on the Nederhijn, where 3.9 million plastic items per square kilometer (or 21,839 particles per 1000 cubic meters) were found in a single water sample. In general, extreme peaks may be reached after heavy rain or accidents. Continue reading “Rhine River plastic pollution is the highest measured”→
Science ship documents plastic debris near Greenland; northern Europe eyed as source
Scientists aboard a German research vessel say they’ve started documenting plastic debris on the surface of the Arctic Ocean, creating new problems for marine life in the environmentally sensitive region.
The tiny plastic particles, used in common products like facial scrubs and toothpaste, have become a pollution scourge, with millions of tons bypassing water treatment and filtration and ending up in rivers, lakes and the ocean.
8 million tons of plastic waste (and counting) go into the oceans each year …
Slowing the waste stream in five key countries could go a long way toward reducing ocean plastic pollution, according to a new report from Ocean Conservancy. The report outlines a plan that targets the elimination of plastic waste leakage in China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, estimated to account for half of all global plastic leakage.
Medium- and short-term goals include speeding waste collection and staunching post-collection leakage, followed by the development and rollout of commercially viable treatment options. For the long term, the report says it’s critical to find innovative recovery and treatment technologies, and to develop new materials and product designs that better facilitate reuse or recycling. Continue reading “Environment: There’s a plan to curb ocean plastic pollution”→