marine debris

Plastic Waste Ingested by Marine Worms Endangers Food Chain

According to an article from Monga Bay Environmental News, the ingestion of microplastics by a marine worm species called lugworms is posing a risk to the ecosystems they are an important part of. According to Nicholas Barrett, scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth have published a study on the way microplastics impacts the worms' health and behaviour in Current Biology. Replicated in laboratory conditions, the exposure that the worms receive to plastics resulted in a 50% reduction in energy reserves and brought out signs of physical harm.

Microbial Colonies Take Root in the Plastisphere

The “Plastisphere” – a word recently assigned to the man-made ecosystem of plastic debris that spans the world's waterways – has just been found to be home to a range of microbial colonies that could be carrying harmful diseases.

European Commission Tackles Marine Litter in Mediterranean

A meeting of the European Commission last week to determine a course of action on protecting the Mediterranean Sea has had positive results so far, with commissioner Janez Potočnik inviting suggestions on how to reduce plastic pollution levels from the Commission and the public. According to a press release from the European Union, commissioner Potočnik was disturbed by quantities of marine litter present in the Mediterranean, and felt that the problem needed to be addressed. Potočnik comments:

EPA to Study Plastic Debris on Hawaiian Island

In an article on the Los Angeles Times yesterday, Tony Barboza reports that the United States Environmental Protection Agency has begun the process of examining the effects of plastic debris on a remote Hawaiian island airstrip. Tern Island, the site of the study, is a breeding ground for sea birds, and in recent years has been exposed to a huge influx of debris as a result of storm damage to a nearby sea wall. According to the article:

Africa Holds First Marine Debris Summit

The South African plastics industry and the African Department of Environmental Affairs crossed paths in June as they joined together for a summit on African marine debris, better known as plastic pollution. The summit was held in Cape Town, South Africa, at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, and was co-organised by the UN Environmental Programme with the aim of discussing the devastation left in the wake of plastic pollution. An article from AfriqueJet comments:

Cost of West Coast Plastic Cleanup Over $500m Annually

A new report from the United States Environmental Protection Agency has found that the cost of cleanup programs for pollution on the west coast is equivalent to about a half a billion dollars. Terry of the Coastal Conservation Network reports that this costs each person living on the coast approximately $13 a year, solely to clean up human debris. The article continues to state that:

Sir David Attenborough: Plastic Oceans

Sir David Attenborough talks about plastic and tells us the hard truths about it's use and the cost to the environment.

Biologists Record Increasing Amounts of Plastic Litter in Arctic Deep Sea

New scientific evidence suggests that the amount of plastic pollution lining the deep sea beds of the arctic has doubled in size over the past two years. According to an online publication in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, Dr Melanie Bergmann followed a "gut feeling" in response to noticing what seemed to be a larger volume of plastic in the deep sea photographs she was studying. The article from Phys.org reports:

Plastic Pollution Upsetting Marine Ecosystems in India

Recently, a study has surfaced which declared that Scotland's maritime industries are suffering as a direct result of plastic's interference on marine ecosystems. In an article that emerged yesterday on The Hindu, India has also joined the countries vocal about the problems plastic pollution causes. A staff reporter from Kerala, India has stated that:

Mission to the North Pacific Gyre Sets Sail

In an article published by National Geographic on Monday, contributor Jonathan Waterman shares the story of a Sea Education Assistant vessel that has just set sail for the North Pacific Gyre, equipped with a crew of scientists whose goal is to study the plastic pollution in the region. The ship, a masted tall ship equipped with an on-board laboratory and a crew of 38 researchers, is a response to studies which began to emerge in the '80s. Waterman writes:

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