Scientists Call for Further Research on 'Plastisphere'

Thanks to the contributions of a culture of single-use plastics, scientists have now begun to refer to the new ecosystem plastics have created in the ocean by its own name: the plastisphere. This biological community has been growing and developing in the ocean for going on six decades – a phenomenon as old as plastic itself – and lately, scientists have found a number of reasons for concern in studying it.

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:


Tahoe Students Work on “Plastic Footprint” Project

Creative students at Incline High School in Tahoe, California have been hard at work this summer creating a piece of art that they feel will share an important message – a work they call the “Plastic Footprint Project”. Guided by art teacher Ann Clark, students have created a large sculpture of a footprint made from plastic bottles which symbolically crush the earth below. The project aims to bring focus to the impact of plastic on animals, the Earth, and human health.

BPA Free Plastics on Trial in Texas

Texan lawmakers began the proceedings for a trial last week after a study published by professor George Bittner of the University of Texas, Austin claims to have uncovered estrogenic activity in a resin produced by Eastman Chemical. Bittner is a researcher and the founder of the plastic companies PlastiPure and CertiChem, companies which specialize in producing plastic with no estrogenic activity.

Breast Cancer UK Issues BPA Ban Rallying Cry, FSA Remains Unmoved

An article recently published on Food Production Daily has reported that despite the calls to action issued by health organization Breast Cancer UK, the British government still maintains that bisphenol A is safe for consumers in food packaging materials. According to correspondant Joe Whitworth, despite the fact that the UK Food Standards Agency continues to refer to a small selection of studies which claim that the chemical is safe, a growing body of research suggests the opposite is true.

Study Sheds Light on Scope of Pollution in India

A study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board of Ahmadabad, India during the year 2010-11 has given the Minister of State for Environment and Forests disturbing data upon which to base further political action. The study, which took survey of plastic trash data across 60 cities, concluded that the total figure representing India's plastic waste in just one day amounts to 15,342. 46 tons. Out of this overwhelming sum, 9,205 tons are gathered and recycled, and 6,137 tons remain uncollected.

'Silken' Tea Bags Leach Toxic Chemicals

Despite what clever marketing would have consumers believe -- that new, "silken" tea bags are superior to their paper predecessors -- Laurie Balbo of the Green Prophet sheds light on the new trend with the unfortunate truth: supposedly "silk" tea bags are often made of plastic materials which leach into hot tea when submerged. According to Balbo's article:

Supermarket Chain Waitrose to Cut Packaging in Half by 2016

Waitrose, an upscale English supermarket chain, has recently announced that it plans to reduce the amount of packaging it uses by 50% by the year 2016 -- a huge step which would significantly impact the amount of waste consumers are left with from the items they purchase. In an article published on the Sustainable Brands news page, contributor Mike Hower writes that Waitrose's new consumer pledge will significantly overhaul the store's current range of products in order to meet its goal.

India Fights Plastic Waste 'Time Bomb'

A grim headline from the Times of India reports that India's Supreme Court has emphasized that the country is a "plastic time bomb" due to the sheer volume of plastic it disposes of on a daily basis, with Delhi alone producing 689.5 tonnes of plastic refuse per day. According to the article's writer, Dhananjay Mahapatra, the amount of plastic discarded daily in India is even more shocking. Piles of plastic dot the landscape in the form of permanent mountains which never biodegrade and build up as the country produces more and more waste. He writes:

Beached Sperm Whale in Spain Dies After Eating Large Amounts of Plastic

The Raw Story reported on Thursday last week that a 4.5 ton sperm whale washed up on a beach in Spain last week dead and in an extremely emaciated state, and upon further examination, it was found to have died of eating plastic. According to the story written by the Agence France-Presse, the whale, which washed ashore last year, was found to to have ingested over 17 kilograms (which equates to 37 pounds) of garbage, which blocked its stomach and caused the animal to starve to death.

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