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Displaying items by tag: Debris

#MarineNotice - The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) has been advised by the Government of France about the planned launch of the rocket Soyuz VS15 from Kourou Spaceport in French Guyana on or around next Tuesday 24 May.

Following the launch, some elements of the launcher may land in the Atlantic Ocean around 356km off the Irish coast within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Ireland.

Any shipping within the affected area during the launch period is hereby advised to be alert to the general maritime safety risk in the area.

Co-ordinates and a map of the affected area are included in Marine Notice No 23 of 2016, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#MarineNotice - Mariners in the waters of Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone are advised to keep watch for debris that may fall into the sea after a pending Soyuz rocket launch between today 11 September and Monday 21 September.

Marine Notice No 42 of 2015 has co-ordinates of the area where parts are expected to fall following the launch of the Soyuz VS12 space rocket from Kourou Spaceport in French Guyana.

Published in Marine Warning
Taking my grandson to school in Crosshaven he showed me a page of homework which his teacher had said they would be talking about in class. It demonstrated the effect of debris on the oceans and what can happen when litter is thrown into a river or stream or left on the beach.

It was very topical, because this week the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference is taking place in Hawaii, organised jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Nations Environment Programme. This is an attempt to deal with the increasing problem of debris in the oceans of the world.

A United Nations report revealed some pretty frightening facts to the conference. Just two kinds of rubbish make up more than half the marine debris in the world. One is predictable enough – the horror of plastic choking sea life. The other came as more of a shock. The second most abundant kind of marine litter is smoking-related. Cigarette butts and packing account for nearly half of all sea rubbish in some parts of the world, according to the UN.

About 40 per cent of the litter in the Mediterranean Sea comes from this source. In Ecuador, smoking-related refuse accounted for more than half of coastal rubbish.

Ocean debris is a severe threat to the marine eco system. It kills at least 1 million sea birds and 100, 000 mammals each year, according to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The general prognosis at the conference in Hawaii has been pretty grim. Things are getting worse and it is the fault of humans on land using the oceans as rubbish dumps.

As my grandson's homework showed, it takes two weeks for a bit of fruit thrown into a river or the sea to bio-degrade. It will be two months before a piece of cardboard breaks down, three months for a milk carton and matters get worse where a cigarette butt is concerned. That will take ten years to disintegrate, a Styrofoam coffee cup 50 years, a plastic bag over a hundred and the six-pack ring so often tossed overboard from boats 400 years, with the plastic bottle even worse at 450 years.

The threat and impact of marine debris have long been ignored. Perhaps it is the perceived vastness of the ocean and lack of visibility of marine debris, but the teachers in Crosshaven national school, on the edge of Cork Harbour deserve praise for making their young pupils aware of what throwing litter into a river or dumping it on a beach does.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie
Published in Island Nation

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