Environment

70 Million Plastic Bags Thrown Away Annually in Iceland

A new report published by Iceland's Ministry for the Environment has found that the annual number of plastic bags discarded in the country has reached 70 million per year-- a figure which shows a significant increase from last year's figure of approximately 50 million. According to Zoe Robert of the Iceland Review:

Flexible Packaging Business Takes Off, Environment Suffers

In a bid to reduce the weight of consumer products for cheaper shipping and lower packaging costs, the business of "flexible packaging" is booming, set to be worth approximately $351 billion by 2018. Flexible packaging, perhaps most iconically represented by the Capri-Sun drink pouch, may save money and materials for consumers, but for the environment, much of this packaging could prove to be particularly damaging, particularly when it comes to disposal.

Endocrine Disruptors Causing Lower Sperm Counts in French Men

A landmark 2012 study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, has found that endocrine disruptors present in pesticides are responsible for the decline of the sperm counts of French men on a large scale. According to an article published by eNews Park Forest, the study found that from 26, 600 sperm samples from otherwise virile men, an annual 1.9% dip in sperm concentration was detected, with a 33.4% decrease in the percentage of sperm normally formed within the 16 year period that the study was run.

Microbeads in Cosmetics Under Scrutiny as States Call for Legislation

Early in February, New York State's Attorney General's Office announced legislation to curtail the inclusion of plastic "microbeads" in cosmetics. Not long after this legislation was introduced, California followed suit, introducing its own version of the bill for voter consideration.

Plastic Merges into China's Farmland

According to an article on Sinosphere, a New York Times blog, plastic is becoming a part of the environment in China as industrial farming plastic is merging with the soil it covers. The article, authored by Didi Kirsten Tatlow, explains that the plastic particles are mixing deep into the earth, creating a layer of contaminated soil that runs "tens of layers deep". Tatlow reports:

 

Sub-Alpine Lake Contaminated with Microplastics, Research Reveals

Scientists from the University of Bayreuth, Germany have recently conducted research on the waters of popular Italian vacation site Lake Garda, with disturbing results. Sub-alpine lakes are treasured as pristine environments, shielded from human contamination through isolation and altitude, but researchers found microplastic contamination in unanticipated levels in the waters of Lake Garda. In an article published on the Daily Mail, Sarah Griffiths reports:

Singapore Uses 3 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year, Study Reports

The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) has published a study which reports that the citizens of the country use approximately 3 billion plastic bags per year, resulting in a staggering amount of avoidable garbage. Eco-Business' Elga Reyes reports that the SEC has urged retailers to take action against the growing plastic waste figures by taking matters into their own hands. Reyes writes:

Conservation International Campaign Reduces Plastic Pollution in Rural China

Plastic pollution is a substantial problem in the Southwest region of China, a man-made blemish in what is otherwise considered a beautiful and rural area. Wansu Xu of Conservation International writes that she and her team traveled to the Haizishan province of China in order to attempt to slow the flow of plastic into the environment, but the journey yielded insight into part of the reason she believes plastic pollution has remained so prevalent in this part of the world. Xu shares:

San Diego Faces Recycling Crisis

The Southern California town of San Diego is facing a growing challenge according to Deborah Sullivan Brennan of UT Times, who reports that recycling bins in the city are overflowing as San Diego's waste management program is unable to keep up with waste produced. Recycling is collected in two week intervals in San Diego, and recently, residents of the city have noticed the blue bins designated for recyclables are overflowing, while the black general waste bins have extra space inside.

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