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Displaying items by tag: Plastic Waste

The amount of plastic in European waters has almost doubled in the past decade, according to newly published research.

The research shows a “steep increase” in marine plastic on Europe’s seabeds, with the number of plastic items detected per square kilometre in the northeast Atlantic increasing from 20 to 35 between 2012 and 2021.

The findings have been released by SEAwise, an international project working towards the effective implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management in Europe.

The project’s report comes just days after UN talks on tackling plastic waste ended in Paris with an agreement to draft a global plastics treaty by November.

The research was led by the Italian research institute COISPA, and the SEAwise team analysed data from fishing hauls around Europe to estimate changes in the amount of litter on the seafloor over time and identify marine litter hotspots.

Data from the Baltic Sea through to the northeast Atlantic and from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean showed that plastic is “by far the most prevalent form of marine litter”.

It found that up to 90% of hauls in the northeast Atlantic and Baltic included plastic, with trawls five times more likely to bring up an item made of plastic than other waste materials such as glass, metal or rubber.

Plastic poses a threat to marine wildlife, most commonly by entanglement or ingestion – with the latter also having implications for human welfare, the project points out.

“Though mandated under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), measures for acceptable litter levels–or threshold values–are still lacking around Europe,” the report states.

Prof Dave Reid of the Marine Institute of Ireland, said that trawl surveys showed that in most areas (around half) the plastic litter mainly comes from commercial fishing activity.

The full report is available here

For more information about SEAwise here

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

The Ocean Race and Ocean Bottle, makers of award-winning reusable bottles, are working together to reduce the volume of single-use plastic that ends up in the seas.

A special-edition bottle to commemorate The Ocean Race 2022-23 will be launched through the partnership which will prevent the equivalent of 4.5 million single-use ocean-bound plastic bottles entering the ocean, through the use of the Ocean Bottle in the race’s guest experience programme and sale to the public in retail outlets.

Andrew Lamb, head of partnership development at The Ocean Race said: “In the race to protect the ocean, there’s no time to waste, so joining forces with partners like Ocean Bottle, who share our mission for healthy seas, is vital to accelerate action.

“As sailors we see first-hand how plastic pollution is choking the ocean. If things don’t change there will be more plastic in the marine environment than fish by 2050 [according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation].

“Ocean Bottle is making a real difference; last year alone it stopped nearly 2.5m kg of plastic from entering the ocean. Together we can have a positive impact and inspire even more action.”

Each Ocean Bottle prevents the equivalent of 1,000 plastic bottles from entering the ocean via social plastic collection programmes in which community members are paid or provided with other benefits for collecting ocean-bound plastic. Ocean Bottle says these programmes help to empower vulnerable communities with a path out of poverty.

The product also contains a smart chip which takes people through to an app where they can discover more actions they can take to help the seas. One Blue Voice, The Ocean Race’s campaign for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights, will also be highlighted with a QR code to drive consumers to the petition where they can add their support.

Ocean Bottle partner RePurpose Global’s plastic collection project in Accra, Ghana | Credit: RePurpose GlobalOcean Bottle partner RePurpose Global’s plastic collection project in Accra, Ghana | Credit: RePurpose Global

Ocean Bottle founder and co-chief executive, Will Pearson said: “We created Ocean Bottle to make it easier for people everywhere to stop plastic from getting into our seas. We believe we can achieve this through partners like The Ocean Race to fund the collection of a minimum of 4.5 million ocean-bound plastic bottles in weight.

“Ocean Bottle exists to bring people together to turn the tide on ocean plastic and we can’t be more excited to be partnering with The Ocean Race.”

The special-edition bottle will be available in The Ocean Race online store from November, just ahead of the start of the race which sets sail from Alicante, Spain in January 2023.

Throughout the six-month event, the bottle will be on sale in Ocean Live Parks, the dedicated race villages in the nine host cities around the world. It will also be available in The Ocean Race Museum store in Alicante and will be gifted to race guests during stopovers.

Through The Ocean Race’s Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, which was developed in collaboration with founding partner and premier partner of the race, 11th Hour Racing, the round-the-world sailing event is working to improve ocean health with a diverse range of audiences, including driving action around ocean plastic.

This includes pushing decision-makers on plastic policy, cutting single-use plastic in race villages, equipping teams with onboard scientific equipment to measure microplastics in the water as they race and inspiring children to take action through Learning programmes that have reached more than 180,000 students across the world.

Published in Ocean Race

French operator, Brittany Ferries is realising the benefits of its drive to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of single use plastics on board its fleet of ferries by purging almost 5.7 million items of plastic per year.

The operator has a network sering the UK, France, Spain and Ireland. Over the last 18 months the company has been purging its onboard restaurants and cabins of single use plastic items, including cutlery, cups, lids, stirrers and straws.

Altogether 5,664,400 items of plastic have been eliminated per year, including over two million cups. In their place have come environmentally friendly alternatives made from bamboo, cardboard, paper and wood. If all these items were placed end to end, they’d stretch over 400 miles – the distance from London to Edinburgh.

Already the vast majority of meals consumed on Brittany Ferries ships are served on china plates alongside stainless steel cutlery, whilst most drinks are already served in glasses and china cups.

Other measures include the replacement of disposable shower gel sachets in cabin bathrooms with dispensers filled with eco-friendly gels, and the elimination of plastic bags in dustbins.

“The sea is our home, so of course we’re deeply aware not only of its beauty, but also its fragility,” says Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu. “By tackling single use plastics we are determined to take responsibility and make a significant contribution to collective efforts to protect the seas upon which we sail. I’m delighted to see this project already bearing fruit.”

“We couldn’t have done this alone: we’re working closely with our suppliers to raise standards and to find innovative and creative solutions. And we’re also working with our customers and colleagues, who are increasingly driving our efforts to make changes. We want to make it easier for them to consume and recycle in line with their and our values whilst they’re on board our ships.”

“For sure, there’s much more to do, but this is a positive step forward, part of our long term mission to incorporate sustainability into everything that we do.”

In 2020 the company will renew its focus on airborne emissions when it welcomes its first LNG-powered ship, Honfleur as Afloat reported previously.

In addition a further pair of E-flexer class newbuilds are to follow: Salamanca in 2022 and Santoña in 2023. The trio will be amongst the first ferries of their type to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

The introduction of LNG powered tonnage will offering significant environmental advantages (see cutting CO2) over traditional marine fuels, burning more efficiently and producing no sulphur, virtually no particulates and 95 per cent less nitrogen dioxide.

Published in Brittany Ferries

Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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