Ocean Action Hub

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Ocean Plastic Pollution Costs The World $2.5 Trillion A Year

29 Apr 2019 - The plastic pollution that end up in the Earth's oceans is costing world governments as much as $2.5 trillion a year.

29 Apr 2019 - The plastic pollution that end up in the Earth's oceans is costing world governments as much as $2.5 trillion a year.

Much has been said about the adverse effects of marine pollution on animals and the environment, but there have not been enough research exploring its impact on the economy and human society as a whole.

In a study featured in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, researchers looked at the how garbage that end up in the oceans directly affect people's lives. They focused on the marine ecosystem value, which refers to how much society benefits from using these bodies of water.

Plastic Pollution In The World's Oceans

Results revealed that the world is losing 1 to 5 percent of its marine ecosystem value because of ocean plastic pollution. This translates to trillions of dollars in losses for societies that depend on oceans for various enterprises.

Plastic pollution is also lowering environmental values by $33,000 for every ton. The figure is very alarming, considering as much as 8 million tons of the garbage are making their way to the world's oceans annually.

"Our calculations are a first stab at 'putting a price on plastic'," said Nicola Beaumont, environmental economist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory and lead investigator of the study.

"We know we have to do more research to refine, but we are convinced that already they are an underestimate of the real costs to global human society."

The researchers clarified that their estimations do not include the potential impacts of marine plastic pollution on industries such as fisheries, transport, and tourism, as well as on human health.

Plastic waste is fast becoming a primary concern for world governments. The pollution can now be found in almost all corners of the globe, from heavily populated coastline cities to remote villages.

These ocean garbage are making life more miserable for creatures that rely on oceans such as fish, turtles, invertebrates, zooplankton, some mammals, and even birds.

Tangible And Intangible Costs Of Marine Plastic Waste

The study found that some plastics have also eventually become new forms of habitats for algae and bacteria. The rapid growth of such colonies has helped broaden the biogeographical range of these microorganisms, greatly increasing the risk for spreading infectious diseases and invasive species throughout the world.

Study co-author Kayleigh Wyles said their work is the first of its kind to portray the "holistic" effect of plastic pollution. Not only does it show how such wastes can devastate the ecological and marine systems of the world, but it can also impact human society in different ways.

By quantifying the tangible and intangible costs of marine plastic pollution, Wyles believes it can lead to more people devoting more efforts and resources to protecting the environment for the next generation.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.techtimes.com/articles/242482/20190428/ocean-plastic-pollution-costs-the-world-2-5-trillion-a-year.htm

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Scientists Use Sun Shield To Protect The Great Barrier Reef From Impending Demise

28 Mar 2018 - There is still hope in saving the Great Barrier Reef from an impending demise as conservationists invented a film-like shield to protect corals from the sun.

28 Mar 2018 - There is still hope in saving the Great Barrier Reef from an impending demise as conservationists invented a film-like shield to protect corals from the sun.

Previous marine studies indicate that the Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, has been categorized as being in a critical state. The world's largest coral reef system is already on the brink of destruction where thousands of underwater flora and fauna cohabitate.

However, researchers from the University of Melbourne and Australian Institute of Marine Science think they may have found a way to save the Great Barrier Reef. It's by deploying the so-called sun shield on the surface of ocean water.

The sun shield is a film-like material that is 50,000 times thinner than the human hair, which is designed to block harmful UV rays from penetrating into the reefs. The shield is made of biodegradable calcium carbonate, the same component present in corals.

The project was formally announced by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation through a press release published on March 27. Scientists said that the shield can block as much as 30 percent of the sunlight that penetrates the reef.

In Absence Of A Long-Term Solution

"The surface film provided protection and reduced the level of bleaching in most [coral] species," said Anna Marsden, managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Marsden clarified that the sun shield is not a permanent or long-term solution to cover the 348,000 square kilometers of the Great Barrier Reef. However, the team is using the instrument to salvage high-risk or critically-endangered areas of the reef system.

"The concept needs more work and testing before it gets to that stage, but it's an exciting development at a time when we need to explore all possible options to ensure we have a Great Barrier Reef for future generations," Marsden said.

A study published in the journal Science in January this year concludes that there is limited time to save what is left from the Great Barrier Reef. Marine experts said that bleaching is happening more frequently than ever, giving the corals less time to heal.

In response, the United States announced that it is allotting a $1.6 million funding for projects related to the conservation and protection of the coral reefs.

This is not the first time that sun shields were deployed in the ocean. In 2013, the Obama administration donated $9 million to fund a project called "Resilient Coral Reefs Successfully Adapting to Climate Change" for four years. The program included sun shields in their list of activities.

CONTINUE READING: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/223880/20180328/scientists-use-sun-shi...