ocean pollution

Finding MH 370: A Needle in a Garbage Patch

In the wake of the devastating news of the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, the idea that an object as large as a passenger plane could be lost continues to weigh heavily on the minds of search teams and devastated family members. While the flight was recently proclaimed officially lost and with no survivors, the physical remains of the plane have yet to be found. What is it, then, that has made the plane so hard to locate?

Rio Tackles Pollution Crisis as 2016 Olympics Loom

Rio de Janeiro is set to be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, an honor that has the city buzzing to perfect its image for the big event. Unfortunately, cleaning up Rio in time for the games is proving a daunting task, even with two years to go until the opening of the show. According to the BBC, Rio is facing a pollution problem in iconic Guanabara Bay that is proving a challenge to tackle. Julia Carniero reports that pollution levels in Guanabara Bay are at critical levels, creating health risks and physical obstructions for sailors training for the games.

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:

Carmel-by-the-Sea Bans Plastic Bags

In an uplifting news article posted by the Monterey County Weekly, it was announced that as of February 3rd, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California has joined neighboring Monterey in banning plastic bags. The article, written by Kera Abraham, states that Carmel's ocean side location was an important factor in instituting a ban, following the increase in plastic found on the beaches there. Abraham published a comment from Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett, who felt strongly about the ban's importance.

What Are the Long Term Threats of Plastic in Our Seas?

BBC Science Editor Susan Watts writes about the filming of a BBC series on the French Frigate Shoals, during which the film crew encountered the problem of plastic pollution firsthand. According to the article on the BBC, the crews encountered Albatross which had died due to plastic ingestion, turtles nesting in plastic bottles, and floating garbage that was discarded by its owners and remained forever after at sea. Watts comments that it is not just these problems that emerge from plastic pollution, however. Impacts of plastic can range from the very visible to the microscopic.

Ocean Plastics Absorb Other Toxins, Become Even More Dangerous to Marine Life

Plastic pollution has plagued the world's oceans alongside overfishing and acidification, but recent research has found that the problem of pollution in the world's oceans is magnified due to the way plastics absorb other pollutants, causing them to become even more dangerous and toxic to marine life. According to an article from Inhabitat, plastics were found to absorb persistent organic pollutants (POPs) over a long period of time -- in some cases, plastics continued to absorb new chemicals after 44 months. Morgana Matus reports:

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