Ocean Action Hub

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Ocean microplastic pollution could be double previous estimates - study

22 May 2020 - Researchers trawled the surface of coastal waters off the UK and US with finer mesh nets than typically used and captured vast quantities of shorter and thinner plastic parti

22 May 2020 - Researchers trawled the surface of coastal waters off the UK and US with finer mesh nets than typically used and captured vast quantities of shorter and thinner plastic particles.

Microplastic pollution in the oceans is believed to be more than double the previous estimates, according to a new study.

A team of researchers, led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, trawled the surface of coastal waters off the UK and US with finer mesh nets than have been typically used and found far more plastic particles in the waters than previously thought.

Plastic wreaks havoc on marine ecosystems. As plastic swirls around in the water, much of it breaks down to tiny pieces called microplastics.

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Microplastics found in Antarctic sea ice for first time, scientists say

04 May 2020 - Microplastics have been found in Antarctic sea ice for the first time, scientists say.

04 May 2020 - Microplastics have been found in Antarctic sea ice for the first time, scientists say. Because the microplastics were trapped in the sea ice, the particles remained for longer near the surface, increasing the chance of them being consumed by krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean that is a food source for larger marine mammals further up the food chain.

The study, published in the May edition of the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, analysed an ice core collected in East Antarctica in 2009. Some 96 tiny particles of plastic were identified from 14 different types of polymer.

However the particles were still relatively large in size suggesting that they had come from local pollution and had less time to break down than if they had been swept a long way by ocean currents.

The ice core came from sea ice attached to land and averaged almost 12 microplastic particles per litre.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/microplastics-antarctic-sea-ice-plastic-pollution-ocean-a9481146.html

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Rare giant turtles returning to beaches deserted by tourists across world

23 Apr 2020 - 2020 is set to be ‘really good year’ for leatherbacks, conservationists say.

23 Apr 2020 - 2020 is set to be ‘really good year’ for leatherbacks, conservationists say.

In recent weeks, rare leatherback turtles have been found nesting in numbers not seen for decades on beaches in Florida and Thailand.

And experts say the resurgence of the vulnerable leatherback is likely closely linked to the desertion of beaches across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Juno beach, Florida, staff from the Loggerhead Marinelife Centre have discovered 76 nests over an almost 10-mile stretch of sand in the first two weeks of the season, a "significant" increase on last year.

In Thailand, the largest number of leatherback nests in two decades has been found on beaches bereft of tourists, according to environmentalists.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/coronavirus-turtles-beaches-leatherback-tourists-nests-florida-thailand-a9474371.html

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BALI: Using blockchain to clean up the world's oceans

12 Oct 2018 - Empower is aiming to open a plastic recycling collection point in Bali, Indonesia in time for the Our Ocean conference that will be attended by global world leaders at the end of October. 

12 Oct 2018 - Empower is a blockchain alternative to the recycling system in Norway, where people are paid to return plastic bottles to shops. Collectors get paid a small amount of between 15 and 30 cents depending on the size of the plastic bottle returned. But the scheme has been wildly successful: 97 per cent of plastic bottles are returned. Plastic producers are incentivised to participate in the scheme by an environmental tax that they do not have to to pay if they collect 95 per cent of waste.

Through blockchain, Empower aims to take Norway’s native plastic exchange system global, rewarding anyone with plastic waste in tokens at certified recycling stations. “The reason we have a high recycling rate in Norway is that you learn from being a kid that plastic has a value, you can pick it up and buy some candy with it,” he says. “If we can do something like that in Indonesia, where people just drop plastic, we can give the value back to them.”

Empower is crowdfunding to open a collection point in Bali in time for the Our Ocean conference that will be attended by global world leaders at the end of October. It is not the only - nor the first - startup to see the synergy between blockchain and recycling. 

The Plastic Bank was founded in Canada in 2013 to incentivise the cleanup of plastic waste in developing countries including the Philippines, Haiti, Brazil and South Africa. People returning waste to recycling centres are offered a reward in digital tokens hosted on blockchain, which they can use to purchase food or phone credit using an app. The plastic is sold to corporate clients who pay a premium over the usual price of recycling plastic and the surplus is passed on to collectors.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/indyventure/plastic-waste-recycling-blockchain-empower-oslo-innovation-a8565906.html

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‘Unprecedented changes’ needed to stop climate change as UN report reveals coral reefs dying
8 Oct 2018 - The IPCC findings, released today, warn enormous and rapid changes to the way everyone on Earth eats, travels and produces energy need to be brought in immediately.

8 Oct 2018 - Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut almost in half by 2030 to avert global environmental catastrophe, including the total loss of every coral reef, the disappearance of Arctic ice and the destruction of island communities, a landmark UN report has concluded.

Drawing on more than 6,000 scientific studies and compiled over two years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings, released this morning, warn enormous and rapid changes to the way everyone on Earth eats, travels and produces energy need to be brought in immediately.

Though the scientists behind the report said there is cause for optimism, they recognised the grim reality that nations are currently nowhere near on track to avert disaster.

The worst effects of global warming will only be prevented if the global temperature increase stays below 1.5C, a figure the scientists think will be exceeded within around 20 years. 

Under current climate commitments by world leaders, the Earth will be 3C warmer by the end of the century.

“Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Professor Jim Skea of Imperial College London, who contributed to the report.

1.5C VS 2C: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?  

The new UN report focuses on the relative harm caused by two potential warming outcomes  

  • 1.5C warming will see coral reefs declining by around 80 per cent, whereas 2C would see more than 99 per cent wiped out
  • The Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in summer roughly once every decade under 2C warming, and only once every century under 1.5C
  • Melting ice will raise the sea level 10cm higher under 2C than 1.5C by 2100, a seemingly small increase that will render many islands and coastal areas uninhabitable
  • 10 million fewer people forced from their homes by sea level rise under 1.5C warming
  • Roughly double the number of animals and plants will lose half their habitat under 2C warming than 1.5C

Another contributor, Professor Myles Allen from the University of Oxford, added: “If emissions rise above the current level then warming will accelerate, so we might even get to 1.5C earlier than this.”

The world has already passed 1C of warming since 19th-century industrialisation began spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and many regions are already suffering the effects as heatwaves, droughts and floods become more intense and frequent.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-ipcc-report-un-global-warming-15c-coral-reefs-arctic-ice-islands-incheon-korea-a8572926.html

READ THE IPCC REPORT: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

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Johnson & Johnson will stop selling plastic cotton buds in half the world to help cut marine pollution - The Independent

13 February 2016 - Plastic cotton buds are one of the most common types of litter found on Britain's beaches

Multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson is to stop selling plastic cotton buds – one of the most common item of litter found on Britain’s beaches – in half the countries of the world after a campaign to cut marine pollution.

The company will instead use paper to make the stick of the buds.

Dr Clare Cavers of Scottish environmental charity Fidra, which ran a campaign to persuade people to stop using plastic cotton buds, said: “We commend Johnson & Johnson for leading this change in product material, it is an important part of the solution to the growing problem of plastic pollution in our seas. 

“A step change in consumer behaviour is needed to ensure people dispose of waste responsibly and only flush toilet paper. 

“The message cannot be strong enough that only the three Ps (pee, toilet paper and poo) should be flushed, and anything else should go in a bin.”

The Marine Conservation Society recorded cotton buds as the sixth most common type of litter found on Britain’s beaches in 2016.

Plastic 'should be considered toxic' once it gets into the environment

Cotton buds are supposed to be put in the bin but many are flushed down the toilet, and can then reach the beaches through the sewer system.

Paper cotton buds would get waterlogged and settle out of the wastewater before they can reach the beach and then gradually degrade. 

Plastic, which is likely to persist in the natural world for centuries, attracts and concentrates poisonous chemicals in the sea.

Niamh Finan, the company’s group marketing manager, said: “We recognise that our products have an environmental footprint, and that’s why we have actively switched our cotton buds range from plastic to a paper stick.”

The United Nations has warned that plastic debris in the sea poses a serious threat to human health.

Experts have warned that plastic should be treated as a toxic substance once it gets into the environment.

Read original article: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/johnson-johnson-cotton-buds-plastic-half-world-marine-pollution-sea-life-a7577556.html