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Displaying items by tag: plastic pollution

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Wildlife Fund have initiated a joint campaign calling for a legally binding UN treaty on plastic pollution.

Successful solo long-distance sailor MacArthur, who formed her foundation after retiring from professional sailing in 2010, has said that voluntary agreements and existing measures cannot solve the plastic problem alone.

“Many companies have taken important voluntary steps, laying the foundations for wide-reaching cooperation, but they cannot reach the scale we need to urgently solve this crisis,” her foundation says.

“Plastic pollution doesn’t stop at or care about borders, so countries and organisations can’t fix the problem on their own. It is a global challenge that needs a coordinated and globally aligned response,” it says.

MacArthur’s foundation is committed to a circular economy as part of the approach to preventing millions of tonnes of plastic leaking into the environment, ending up in landfills or being burned.

The foundation says that the “take-make-waste” linear economy is “harming nature, using up natural resources, and contributing to the climate and biodiversity crises, while billions of dollars worth of valuable materials are being lost to the economy”.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WWF initiative is timed for the UN Environment Assembly this month.

The organisations are calling for a treaty on plastic pollution that:

Has a clear focus on ways we can stop the problem before it starts - not just how to improve cleaning it up - through a circular economy approach;

Sets global standards, with common regulations applicable to all countries;

Supports all countries to play their part by giving them the tools, knowledge, and robust frameworks to create a circular economy for plastics.

The two organisations point to mounting pressure for a legally binding treaty, with over two million people having signed a WWF petition and more than three-quarters of UN member states backing those calls.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans has changed ecosystems so much that now marine wildlife and plantlife are using it as the foundation of new habitats, it’s being claimed.

Marine Industry News reports on research conducted on the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a gyre of marine waste in the North Pacific Ocean and one of at least five of such ‘trash vortexes’ around the world.

Marine experts investigating the region identified “neopelagic” communities of plants an animals thriving among the debris, much of it plastic from old fishing nets and discarded bottles.

“The issues of plastic go beyond just ingestion and entanglement,” says marine scientist Linsey Haram.

“It’s creating opportunities for coastal species’ biogeography to greatly expand beyond what we previously thought was possible.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

Plastic pollution remains in river systems for much longer than previously thought, new research has found. 

Microplastics may travel at less than 0.01km per hour, a University of Leicester study indicates.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a common material for single-use plastic bottles, requires UV light to break down over more than 450 years.

The study involved tracking 90 PET sample plastic bottle ‘tracers’, released into a river Soar tributary near Wistow, Leicester.

The average travel distance for each tracer was 231m in 24 hours, with the furthest at just under 1.1km.

The study was conducted by University of Leicester School of Geography, geology and environment PhD researcher Robert Newbould, alongside Dr Mark Powell and Professor Mick Whelan.

“We were surprised at how easily the plastic bottles were trapped, and their relatively low travel distance,” Newbould said.

“Our work supports other research that existing estimates of riverine plastic flux to the ocean may have been overestimated, but more research is needed to confirm this,”he said.

Researchers recovered 96% of plastic tracers from the river system, and also retrieved other litter to reduce macroplastic pollution.

The University of Leicester is home to the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research, which applies research to pressing global challenges, often in collaboration with industry.

‘Macroplastic Debris Transfer in Rivers: A Travel Distance Approach’ is published in the journal Frontiers in Water.

More here

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

Permanent signage now in place at Spanish Point and Whitestrand Miltown Malbay beaches in west Clare hopes to rid the beaches of the scourge of plastic litter.

The signs (not made of plastic) ask beachgoers to take away three pieces of plastic each time they visit the beach.

Local campaigner Eileen O Malley told "I think you will agree that this is a simple cost-effective way of raising awareness of the problem of plastic pollution on our beaches".

"We want to spread the message in the hope that other communities might follow suit", she adds.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

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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