Plastics plague our oceans, killing marine mammals

thehill.com

Dave Phillips and Mark J. Palmer, opinion contributors

A humpback whale was spotted off San Diego’s coast on Valentine’s Day 2020, entangled in a green plastic fishing net. It struggled to migrate up California’s coast, leaping repeatedly to desperately try to rid itself of the net.  But rescuers were unable to safely get close enough to try to cut the net off. 

Wildlife photographer Dominic Biagini, the first to sight the breaching whale, shared his pictures: thick green cords drawn tightly across skin; water agitated into a white froth.  Biagini wrote, “I don’t have the words to describe the heartbreak.”

The whale disappeared.

The whale’s tortuous journey created a brief media buzz, and its final fate is unknown. But it most likely joined the tens of thousands of whales and other marine mammals killed by plastic pollution and plastic fishing gear every year, sinking dead to the bottom of the ocean.

The plague of plastic in our oceans is steadily worsening, taking an increasingly deadly toll on whales, dolphins, seals and other marine mammals, not to mention other marine life.

A new report we at the Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project just released chronicles that carnage, surveys the science on this growing epidemic, identifies the culprits in the plastic and fishing industries, and calls for specific policy solutions in plastic hot spots around the world.

Plastics plague our oceans, and marine mammals pay the price. They get strangled by plastic waste, filled with toxic microplastics and entangled in plastic fishing gear.

We’ve found:

  • Many marine mammals — including the North Atlantic right whale, Hawaiian monk seal, Gulf of California vaquita, the Irrawaddy dolphin and many river dolphin species — are rapidly spiraling toward extinction. We must immediately limit plastic pollution and plastic fishing gear to help save them.
  • Plastic pervades all our oceans, but microplastics are most highly concentrated in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and offshore urban areas, where they choke out marine mammals and bioaccumulate in seafood that often ends up on people’s dinner plates.
  • Whale entanglements in lobster, crab and other trap-fishing gear have been skyrocketing on the East and West coasts of the United States. It’s time to replace these mazes of entangling lines with new ropeless or pop-up gear. 
  • Most fishing gear is made of plastics that harm marine mammals, whether in actively fishing or lost at sea. Gillnets and other plastic fishing gear inadvertently kill tens of thousands of dolphins, whales and other marine mammals every year. Bycatch is a plastics issue and switching to more sustainable fishing gear is the solution.
  • Slowing the flow of plastic pollution into our oceans is crucial. Plastic largely isn’t recyclable so we must stop making so much throwaway plastic that will inevitably end up killing marine life.
  • We must hold industries responsible, including the oil industry, plastics industry and manufacturers of plastic nets and lines, for stopping this plastic pollution flow and cleaning up its mess.

The plastics plague is just our latest assault on marine life. Commercial harpoons pushed many whales and other marine mammals to the brink of extinction, before we banned commercial whaling. Plastic pollution and irresponsible fishing practices threaten to reverse decades of ocean conservation progress and doom many vulnerable marine species.

We simply can’t keep filling our oceans with plastic or waiting for future generations to clean up our messes. The time to act is now.

Dave Phillips is executive director of Earth Island Institute, a nonprofit environmental organization based in Berkeley. 

Mark J. Palmer is a biologist by training and an environmental advocate for 50 years. He is the associate director of Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project.

Their recent report, “The Plastics Plague: Marine Mammals and Our Oceans in Peril,” is a blueprint for reform.

https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/3583360-plastics-plague-our-oceans-killing-marine-mammals/

Global Beach Cleanup

It’s a good start…

Petition: Trader Joe’s Reduce Your Plastic Packaging!

actionnetwork.org

Action Network

Trader Joe’s CEO, Dan Bane

Tired of trying to buy groceries NOT wrapped in plastic? We are too! Tell Trader Joe’s to stop putting EVERYTHING in plastic. They can do better.

To: Trader Joe’s CEO, Dan Bane
From: [Your Name]

Dan Bane
CEO
Trader Joe’s
800 South Shamrock Avenue
Monrovia, CA 91016

Dear Mr. Bane,

As one of the leading grocery chains in the nation, we expect Trader Joe’s to take on a leadership role in combating the plastic pollution crisis. However, we cannot shop at Trader Joe’s without acquiring a large amount of plastic packaging in the process. Much of it is not even recyclable.
We like many of your products, but our concerns about plastic’s environmental impact and toxicity are forcing us to forgo buying these in your store. We are not alone. A recent poll by the non-profit Oceana found that a vast majority of Americans (86%) are concerned about single-use plastics, and 81% support enacting policies at the federal/state/ local levels to reduce plastic. What’s more, about three-fourths of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging, according to a recent report by Trivium/ Boston Consulting Group.
We are a group of concerned consumers, but we also have waste management and certified Zero Waste professionals in our group. Looking at your Sustainability page, we appreciate that you have started taking some steps in reducing plastic pollution. However, these are just incremental steps, and fall far short of the radical measures required to tackle this urgent and massive plastic pollution crisis.
We explain the multi-pronged plastic pollution crisis in more detail below this letter.
For all of these reasons, we believe that incremental steps to address this issue are no longer acceptable. We call on Trader Joe’s to join the leaders in reducing single-use plastic by adopting the following sustainable alternative solutions at the earliest. (NOTE: This is based on the international Zero Waste Hierarchy: Rethink/ Redesign is higher than Reuse is higher than Recycle or Compost.) These alternative solutions are already available and being implemented by other stores.
Exploring innovative non-packaging solutions to extend shelf life of fruits and vegetables. See example here.
Switching to bulk bins and dispensers for dry goods, produce, cleaning and self-care products. Such bulk product dispensers are available at many of your competitor’s stores, besides Zero waste specialty stores. Here is a website where you can search for such stores by ZIP code!
Switching to reusable container options where ecosystems are available- for a wide range of products. See this example from one of your major competitors.
Ceasing the sale of water and other drinks bottled in plastic, and replacing them with:
Purified water refilling stations installed at your stores, giving customers a greener, more affordable and flexible option for water-to-go based on their needs. Example here.
While any form of packaging has an environmental impact, beverages sold in glass bottles, cans or cardboard cartons (e.g. Tetra Pak, Boxed Water) are better able to be truly recycled. Comparing the total environmental footprint of these options with plastic is complex and nuanced, but when these are recycled these have a much lower overall environmental impact- e.g. see here and here.
Where all the above options are not feasible, for example, due to shelf life, barrier properties etc., needed for lightweight, shelf stable, single use packaging (e.g., wrappers), seek out biomaterials that are certified BPI compostable or preferably TUV home compostable, because industrial composting facilities are not available in all cities. See material and product examples.
We urge you to set clear targets and timelines for this process and to make them public and provide regular, annual updates on your progress. We also hope you will make these changes soon to enable us to begin doing more of our shopping at your store.
Thanks for taking the time to consider our requests. We look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
__________________________________________
On behalf of FoCo Trash Mob focotrashmob@gmail.com

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/30db171633f7e984aba62d8ce75f848852c42aef

“Break Free From Plastic”

Scientists report ‘heartening’ 30% reduction in plastic pollution on Australia’s coast

www.theguardian.com

Scientists report ‘heartening’ 30% reduction in plastic pollution on Australia’s coast

Lisa Cox

The amount of plastic pollution on Australia’s coast has decreased by up to 30% on average as a result of work by local governments to reduce litter, according to research by Australia’s science agency.

Scientists from CSIRO surveyed 183 coastal sites in six Australian states for plastic and other litter, such as glass, in 2018-19.

Thirty-two of the locations studied had also been surveyed at the same time of year in 2012-13 and those results were compared to the 2018-19 findings.

In what the CSIRO researcher, and one of the paper’s co-authors, Denise Hardesty describes as a “heartening” sign of change, there was an average decline in pollution – most of which is from plastics – across the sites of 29%.

Some individual locations showed larger improvements, the greatest being a 73% decline in the amount of litter recorded.

“It’s an amazing testimony of how much can change and how quickly you can see that change in the environment,” Hardesty said.

“Almost 30% in six years is really heartening and can help people understand the impacts of our behaviours.”

The scientists found the amount of plastic litter differed significantly between beaches in different Australian states and territories, with coastal sites in the Northern Territory, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria having significantly less plastic litter than beaches in New South Wales.

They also found significantly more litter at sites close to urban areas or that had experienced stronger onshore wave forcing the day before the survey.

Beaches that had stronger onshore winds the day before the survey recorded less litter.

Some individual sites also showed an increase in the amount of litter, the highest increase recorded being 93%.

But overall, Hardesty said the results were positive and showed how quickly efforts to raise public awareness of plastic pollution had led to improvements.

The surveys were part of a broader body of research, published in the journal One Earth, in which CSIRO interviewed local governments about their strategies and policies to reduce waste to better understand which measures were most likely to result in changed behaviours.

They found that actions and programs that encouraged environmental stewardship of coastal areas or that used economic measures – such as container deposit schemes and reliable kerbside collection – to motivate waste disposal had the greatest impact.

“I guess the simple way of saying it is money talks,” Hardesty said.

“By having some of those resources and infrastructure in place it makes it easy for people to do the right thing.”

Hardesty said deterrents such as surveillance cameras or signs warning that beaches were monitored for illegal dumping also had an effect.Quick Guide

The lead researcher, Kathryn Willis, said the scientists were surprised to see such a large drop in the average amount of litter since the original surveys back in 2012-13.

“While plastic pollution is still a global crisis and we still have a long way to go, this research shows that decisions made on the ground, at local management levels, are crucial for the successful reduction of coastal plastic pollution,” Willis said.

Jeff Angel, the director of the Boomerang Alliance, said the results showed municipal waste management was a useful strategy that should continue to be supported.

He added that new policies introduced around Australia since 2019, such as single-use plastic bans and the expansion of container deposit schemes, would probably deliver even larger benefits.

“These are showing very large reductions in litter volume and items and will deliver big benefits to the environment as they continue to be rolled out,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/09/scientists-report-heartening-30-reduction-in-plastic-pollution-on-australias-coast

Tell Amazon: Stop Polluting Our Planet With Plastic Packaging

actionnetwork.org

Amazon.com

From polystyrene peanuts to non-recyclable bubble wrap to plastic-wrapped pouches of air, almost every Amazon order arrives wrapped in plastic packaging that is then thrown away or littered.

A new report estimates that Amazon generated 465 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2019 of which 22+ million pounds is now polluting the world’s oceans and waterways. This the equivalent of Amazon dumping a delivery van’s worth of plastic into the ocean every hour and 10 minutes!

And the problem has only grown worse since COVID began as the pandemic has fueled huge growth in Amazon sales.

Amazon claims to be “obsessed” with giving its customers exactly what they want, so it’s time for all of us to demand that they make a big change to their packaging practices.

Sign this petition to join Beyond Plastics and other members of the Break Free From Plastic coalition to tell Amazon to STOP polluting our planet with single-use plastic packaging.

To: Amazon.com
From: [Your Name]

I urge you to stop using all single-use plastic packaging and to offer customers a plastic-free packaging option at check-out by no later than 2022.

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/amazon-stop-plastic-packaging?source=direct_link&referrer=group-plasticpollutioncoalition

We must stop producing and using plastics

www.washingtonpost.com

Letters to the Editor

After reading the May 5 news article “In U.S., plastics recycling rate slumps below 6 percent,” about the U.S. recycling rate dropping from 8.7 percent to under 6 percent, all I could think was, “Why are we even still talking about plastic recycling?”

Recycling has failed for more than half a century, an unarguable fact when you see recycling rates. Under 6 percent is dismal, but so was 8.7 percent. Decades were wasted because of the plastics industries’ multimillion-dollar public relations efforts. It wanted consumers to believe they were responsible for the plastic pollution problem and could prevent it if they used their recycling bins more effectively.

Now, here we are, with the equivalent of two garbage trucks full of plastic entering our oceans every minute — 33 billion pounds a year — and an estimation from the plastics industry that plastic production will more than triple by 2050.

Federal lawmakers must stop following industry’s playbook and take real action. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, introduced in March, would phase out unnecessary single-use plastic products and prevent new and expanded plastic production facilities across the country. It’s up to U.S. leaders to reverse course and reduce the production and use of single-use plastic before it’s too late.

Christy Leavitt, Washington

The writer is plastics campaign director of Oceana.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/10/we-must-stop-producing-using-plastics/

The solution to plastic pollution starts with a strong Treaty

action.greenpeace.org.uk

Plastic produced by the oil industry and big corporations is ruining the health of communities across the world. It’s killing wildlife, poisoning the land and being dumped in oceans.

To make matters worse, microplastics are building up in the air we breathe, our food and even our bodies.

Plastic pollution is a global problem that needs a global solution. But hope is on the horizon. A ‘Global Plastics Treaty’ is gaining momentum.

A strong Treaty would finally give governments the power to hold polluters to account and would be a huge step towards a plastic free future.

– To be an environmental leader on the world stage, the UK must radically reduce the plastic we produce, and stop dumping it on other countries.
– The likes of Coca Cola, PepsiCo & Nestlé will never be as ambitious as we need them to be, because they put profits before people and planet. This is why governments must agree to global targets and standards that force multinational companies to reduce their plastic footprint.
– Over the next few years we’ll be standing up to powerful corporate interests – who will continue to lobby governments to weaken this Treaty.

– Focus on producing less plastic rather than just recycling
– Make richer countries fuelling the plastic crisis support poorer countries to tackle it.
– Ensure compliance from government and industry.
– Push big brands to drastically reduce single-use plastic pollution.
– Keep oil and gas in the ground (plastic is made from oil).
– Slow down the devastating effects of climate change.
– Hold countries to account for managing their own waste.

SIGN THE PETITION

To UK Govt:

“Solve the global plastic pollution problem by securing a Global Plastics Treaty. ”

Help us to keep up the pressure on the corporations and governments that threaten our planet by donating today:

This campaign is 100% funded by individuals like you. Will you join us as a supporter with a regular amount of £3 or more a month?

https://action.greenpeace.org.uk/global-plastic-treaty1?source=EM&subsource=OCPOPSPEEM01VX&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Global%20Plastic%20Treaty%20%5BNM%5D%20%20PE%2020220405&utm_term=Full%20List

Ending Single-Use Plastics – How you can help save the oceans from plastic pollution

Ending Single-Use Plastics

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International

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Ending Single-Use Plastics

How you can help save the oceans from plastic pollution

Join Oceana to end the plastics problem and save the oceans

Since you’ve been
on this webpage

62087

pounds of plastics
have entered the ocean

The Problem

The oceans face a massive and growing threat from something you encounter everyday: plastics. An estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic leaks into the marine environment from land-based sources every year—this is roughly equivalent to dumping two garbage trucks full of plastic into the oceans every minute.

As plastics continue to flood into our oceans, the list of marine species affected by plastic debris expands. Tens of thousands of individual marine organisms have been observed suffering from entanglement or ingestion of plastics permeating the marine environment—from zooplankton and fish, to sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds.

Plastics never go away. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, which act as magnets for harmful pollutants. When eaten by fish, some of those chemical-laden microplastics can work their way up the food chain and into the fish we eat.

Plastics in our oceans threaten the viability of critical marine ecosystems, but marine plastic pollution is not just a problem for our oceans. The extent to which we, too, are being affected by the plastics that have become so ubiquitous in our environment—in our food, water and air—is a topic of extensive research.

Unfortunately, one of the most popular solutions to plastic pollution falls far short. A meager 9% of all plastic waste generated has been recycled. Recycling alone is not enough to solve the plastics crisis. To have an impact, we must reduce the amount of single-use plastic being produced at the source.

Oceana campaigns to do just that in strategic coastal countries that produce for more than 30% of the world’s plastic waste.

Solution

Solving the plastics problem in our oceans will ultimately take concerted action from companies, governments and advocates like you.

Companies

From multinational corporations to local restaurants – companies need to adopt alternatives to single-use plastics.

Government

At all levels, governments need to enact smart legislation and regulations that limit or eliminate single-use plastics and ensure they don’t end up in our oceans.

Consumers

Consumers have the most important role of all. Make your voice heard, and lead by example.

Oceana campaigns in eight countries and the European Union to achieve meaningful reductions in ocean plastic pollution by reducing the production and use of throwaway plastics.

Countries

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United States

Updates

Oceana Launches #RefillAgain Campaign

April 14, 2022

Oceana today revealed the reason for the launch of the single-use jeans brand S1NGLES. Developed pro bono for Oceana by the award winning creative agency the community and launched with the support of celebrity Heidi Montag, the campaign brings to life the absurdity of single-use and why we should “refill again” in place of single-use […]

Refillable soda bottles used to be the norm. Can they come back?

Fast Company, February 17, 2022

Coca-Cola Pledges to Reduce Single-Use Bottles, Increase Refillables

February 11, 2022

In a victory that could dramatically reduce ocean plastic pollution, The Coca-Cola Company committed to sell 25% of its products in reusable packaging by 2030 – up from an estimated current share of 16%. Refillable bottles are the primary form of reusable packaging that Coca-Cola uses, and they can be refilled and resold 30 to […]

Oceana: Coca-Cola Pledges to Increase Refillable Bottles, but Commitment Lacks Transparency

February 10, 2022

The Coca-Cola Company today announced a new goal to reach 25% reusable packaging by 2030. The announcement was made during the company’s Fourth Quarter 2021 Earnings Call and supports its World Without Waste environmental program. Absent from the announcement were details on exactly what the 25% target represents and metrics indicating how this may contribute […]

Amazon plastic bubble-lined mailer

Amazon’s plastic waste soars by a third during pandemic, Oceana report finds

The Guardian, December 15, 2021

Victories

California Laws Reduce Single-Use Plastic Waste

October 5, 2021

California enacted two new laws to curb harmful single-use plastics, which pollute our oceans and harm marine life. One of the new laws opens the door to refillable glass beverage bottles by removing requirements that prevented bottles from being preserved and refilled by beverage producers. This change will create new jobs while also reducing waste. […]

United States Map

Delaware Protects Marine Life, Coast from Balloon Pollution

September 17, 2021

Following campaigning by Oceana and coalition partners, Delaware enacted a new law prohibiting intentional balloon releases statewide. Balloons released into the air can enter the oceans where they can harm and choke marine life.  Delaware joins Maryland and Virginia in banning balloon releases, which will help protect marine life in the region and the roughly […]

Plastic pollution floating on the ocean surface

Brazil’s Leading Food Delivery Service, iFood, Commits to Deliver Plastic-Free Meals by 2025

August 2, 2021

Brazil’s largest home food delivery service, iFood, publicly committed to deliver 80% of orders free from plastic cutlery, plates, cups, napkins, and straws by 2025, following a campaign co-led by Oceana and the United Nations Environment Program’s Clean Seas Campaign. They will also set public reduction targets by 2023 for additional categories of plastics in […]

single-use plastic bag floating in the ocean

Chile Protects Oceans from Single-Use Plastics, Mandates Refillable Bottle

May 23, 2021

The Chilean government unanimously passed an ambitious law reducing single-use plastic pollution from the food and beverage industries, following campaigning by Oceana.

Washington State Bans Polystyrene Foam, Limits Ocean-Polluting Single-Use Plastic at Restaurants

May 17, 2021

U.S. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law that limits the use of unnecessary single-use plastic across the state, following campaigning by Oceana and our allies in the Pacific Northwest. The new law bans the manufacture, sale, and distribution of certain expanded polystyrene foam products, including foodware, packing peanuts, and foam coolers. It […]

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Use your voice to put an end to single-use plastics

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A new nationwide poll commissioned by Oceana has revealed that 81% of American voters support national, state, and local policies aiming to reduce single-use plastic. With the United States responsible for generating more plastic waste than any other country, now is the time for the federal government to act. 

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (S. 984 and H.R. 2238) would continue the momentum initiated by cities, counties, and states across America by phasing out unnecessary single-use plastic products; putting a moratorium on new and expanded plastic production facilities, and holding companies accountable for their plastic waste. 

Tell your members of Congress to support the Break Free From Plastic Act and protect our oceans from harmful plastic pollution. Please feel free to edit the petition text below, then fill out your info on the right to submit your letter.

This action emails your direct federal representatives and can only be completed by U.S. citizens with an address recognized by the database provided by Congress.

oceana

https://act.oceana.org/page/98987/action/1?ea.tracking.id=Twitter&en_og_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Advo&utm_content=20220410TWBFPPA&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=hIcCDjrDOtrNec

“New Interceptor Solutions to Clean more Rivers | The Ocean Cleanup”

Getting a second chance

Tell Congress to Save Birds from Plastic Waste

act.abcbirds.org

Tell Congress to Save Birds from Plastic Waste

Every year, 17 billion pounds of plastic enter the marine environment. Despite efforts to promote recycling, less than nine percent of plastics in the U.S. are actually recycled.

Birds are particularly vulnerable to plastic pollution. Many seabirds, like Laysan Albatross, are seriously injured or killed when they ingest or become entangled with plastic trash.

To address the plastic pollution crisis, Congress has introduced the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 (S.984/H.R.2238). This bill would put the onus on manufacturers to take care of the plastic waste that they produce, ultimately reducing the amount of plastic that gets into our oceans and the toll it takes on birds.

Take action today: Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators and ask them to pass the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act. Read More

https://act.abcbirds.org/a/take-action-plastics?ms=social

Friday JohnKu – AKA – TGIF and Good News Friyay

Fiction Favorites

It is Friday again, and we are so grateful that we didn’t miss it. Today is also Good News Friyay, and we have two stories.

The first story is about the preliminary test of the Boyan Slat ‘Jenny’ Ocean clean-up system.

Photo courtesy of The Ocean Cleanup

Boyan Slat’s team removed 20,000 pounds of plastic debris from one of the significant “plastic islands” in the Pacific on the first trial of his System 002 nicknamed “Jenny.” It is a system where two boats pull a  u-shaped collection device. (pictured) “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch can now be cleaned,” announced Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat, the wunderkind inventor who’s spent a decade inventing systems for waterborne litter collection. This means the 1.4 trillion pieces of plastic down to 1mm in size can be removed from the oceans by 2040.

Photo courtesy of the Ocean Cleanup

A shot of the plastic picked up…

View original post 248 more words

Act Now to Protect Birds and Habitats from Plastic Waste

act.abcbirds.org

Tell Congress to Save Birds from Plastic Waste

Every year, 17 billion pounds of plastic enter the marine environment. Despite efforts to promote recycling, less than nine percent of plastics in the U.S. are actually recycled.

Birds are particularly vulnerable to plastic pollution. Many seabirds, like Laysan Albatross, are seriously injured or killed when they ingest or become entangled with plastic trash.

To address the plastic pollution crisis, Congress has introduced the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 (S.984/H.R.2238). This bill would put the onus on manufacturers to take care of the plastic waste that they produce, ultimately reducing the amount of plastic that gets into our oceans and the toll it takes on birds.

Take action today: Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators and ask them to pass the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act. Read More

https://act.abcbirds.org/a/take-action-plastics

Caring for the Earth: Plastics | Dolphin Project

Plastic washes ashore after a storm, Ocean Beach, San Francisco

www.dolphinproject.com

Post By:Cara Sands

Microsteps are small, incremental, science-backed actions we can take that will have both immediate and long-lasting benefits to the way we live our lives. ~ Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global

In honor of both Earth Day and Dolphin Project’s birthday (April 22), we’re looking at ways we can fine-tune our daily habits to help protect our planet. In this blog, we’re focusing on our use of plastics.

You might have read of two recent instances in March where whales washed up dead, their stomachs filled with plastics. In the Philippines, a Cuvier’s beaked whale was found with 88 pounds of plastic inside its stomach, and in Sardinia, Italy, a pregnant sperm whale was found dead with almost 50 pounds of the deadly material in its body. Amongst the items found were fishing nets and lines, tubes, rice sacks, grocery bags, garbage and other all-purpose plastic bags, tubes, banana plantation bags and a bag of washing machine liquid.

Dead female sperm whale with nearly 50 pounds of plastic in her stomach, Sardinia, Italy.

Dead female sperm whale with nearly 50 pounds of plastic in her stomach, Sardinia, Italy. Credit: SeaMe

Similar discoveries have been made in 2018 in Spain, Indonesia and Thailand. Several politicians, including Sergio Costa, the Environmental Minister of Italy is calling for a war on disposable plastics. In many locations across the world, bans have been enacted on plastic bags, cutlery, straws, stirrers and other single-use plastics. Yet despite these interventions, it is estimated that more than 8 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean each year, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism. According to some estimates, by 2050, the world’s oceans will carry more single-use plastic than fish.*
*Source: United Nations Environment Programme

Micro plastic, Long Beach, WA

Micro plastic, Long Beach, WA. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license; user: OceanBlueProject.org

As deadly as large plastic items are to marine life and their ecosystems, so are microplastics – small, plastic pieces less than five millimeters long. Primary microplastics are designed to be small, such as tiny beads of manufactured polyethylene found in toothpaste and other personal care items. Secondary microplastics are plastics that have degraded over time from larger pieces into progressively smaller ones. In both instances, the small particles make their way into the oceans and the Great Lakes.

Watch a short video on microplastics, credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

One World One Ocean Plastic Infographic

Credit: One World One Ocean, MacGillivray Freeman Films

There are many simple behaviors we can partake in on a regular basis – some that can easily become daily habits – to help protect the world upon which we, and all other species live. We’ve compiled a brief list for you but we encourage you to brainstorm and create others. It’s these microsteps that when combined, can create positive, long-lasting change.

  • Start your morning with a cup of coffee? Use ground beans versus single coffee pods and if possible, recycle the used coffee grounds. If visiting your local coffee shop, bring your own mug – you might even get a discount for doing so!
  • Be a conscious consumer – Make a point of avoiding plastic packaging, excess packaging and buying individual items wrapped in plastic. Don’t be shy about asking your local grocery store to stop wrapping individual food items in plastic. Are there any businesses you can think of that make a point of using minimal packaging and if so, consider supporting them with your hard-earned dollars. Consider making bulk purchases and always bring your own reusable bags. There are also great alternatives to plastic wrap and plastic storage baggies, including glass containers, reusable storage bags and natural food wraps.
  • BYOB – Bring your own refillable water bottle instead of carrying around a plastic water bottle. Besides cutting down on waste, think of the money you’ll save in the long run.
  • Dining out? Be sure to decline plastic ware at restaurants if you’re getting food to go (most restaurants automatically toss in plastic utensils). Request minimal to-go packaging or if you’re dining out, bring your own reusable container to bring home your leftovers. Consider bringing your own kit of utensils if you’re heading out to lunch.
  • Make it a family affair – Support a cause you feel passionate about by shopping for eco-friendly gear such as eco-friendly totes and reusable straws. There are also great bar soaps and shampoos that don’t require a plastic bottle! They are also perfect for travel. Dolphin Project est. 1970 eco-friendly toteDolphin Project est. 1970 eco-friendly tote
  • Educate – Planning a birthday party or attending another event? Be sure to skip the balloons as they pose serious risks to wildlife. Be sure to tell your guests why!
  • Participate – Coordinate or participate in a clean-up of your local waterway. Earth Day is every day and doing something good for yourself or others is always timely!
  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – Reduce the amount of waste your family generates and consider composting. Educate yourself on local recycling laws. A large amount of recyclables are inadvertently contaminated with soiled or non-recyclable items, which leads large amounts to be trashed as waste.
  • Attend a council or committee meeting of your local government and ask what laws/by-laws exist regarding single-use plastics.
  • Don’t litter – and if you see someone else’s garbage, take a moment to pick it up and dispose of it responsibly.

(Video)

https://hlsrv.vidible.tv/prod/5c99067a8c3ae84e7b88f31c/2019-03-25/hls/playlist_v1.m3u8?PR=E&S=evsfCFuNRXS2SkhLXMuTeDHN0M5tBT_HRFYgRYz1aAnaTW-27Qjr4x38fEq99G_q  

Collectively, if we implement even one or two of these habits each day, not only will we help to protect marine life and their environments by reducing plastic pollution, we can contribute towards a healthier lifestyle, foster stronger community ties and enjoy a greater sense of well-being. When we do good, we feel good and this positive feedback encourages us to do more.

Featured image: Pieces of plastic wash ashore after a storm, Ocean Beach, San Francisco,  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license; user: Kevin Krejci

https://www.dolphinproject.com/blog/caring-for-the-earth-microsteps/

Sign Petition: Corporations made us swim in plastic. Now make them pay to clean it up.

www.thepetitionsite.com

Once it’s created, plastic never leaves the Earth. It never biodegrades. It never reduces into organic matter or fertile soil. Over time, it breaks down further and further into infinitely smaller pieces — but it always exists. In fact, through this process, it even finds its way into our bodies, getting lodged in our organs, through our tap water, bottled water, and foods — including table salt, seafood, and even beer.

Similarly bad: often, plastic doesn’t even get recycled. And when it does go through the energy-intensive process of transforming it from one petroleum-based product into another, that’s often on the taxpayers’ dime… even though it’s corporations that have created all these nasty plastic waste in the first place.

There’s something fishy about that, especially considering that due to these corporations’ plastic obsession, plastic is quickly becoming the most abundant “fish” in the oceans (set to outnumber real fish within the next 29 years). A new study has shown that just twenty firms are responsible for 55% of the world’s plastic production!

Sign the petition to demand that U.S. state governments force plastic-producing corporations to pay for the costs they’ve inflicted on our environment! They made the mess. Now they should shoulder responsibility for cleaning it up.

When recycling even happens, it is not free — or cheap. Local towns and cities that often already have limited budgets have to scrounge to come up with the resources to deal with all the plastics we pile up. As a result, many areas of the U.S. refuse to even collect some types of plastic, meaning they go straight into the trash.

But we didn’t end up here by accident. Huge conglomerates have spent generations shrouding all of their products in plastic, whether it’s water or soda, Amazon gadgets or clothing, take out meals, grocery items like vegetables and meat, or really any other thing that can be produced and sold. Corporations have also spent generations telling us that it’s our fault. If only we, each individual single consumer, would have recycled things the right way, or cleaned our plastic waste enough before disposal, the Earth would be clean and unpolluted and everything would be fine.

What an epic way to pass the buck.

The U.S. is a huge contributor to global pollution and waste — including plastic waste — and these corporations’ insistence on using plastic at every turn is a big reason why. That’s why nine states across the U.S. — including California, Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington state — are trying to pass bills known as “extended producer responsibility” laws. This type of legislation really just means: pushing the responsibility for the plastic waste that corporations create… back onto the corporations.

If they’re going to make these wasteful choices, they need to bear that burden. And maybe, in the process, companies will start to rethink how heavily they rely on plastic in the first place.

As we all know, corporations rarely ever change without being forced to by government laws. That’s why it’s so important for states to pass these extended producer responsibility laws now!

Tell lawmakers in California, Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington state to pass “extended producer responsibility” laws now to place the burden of responsibility for plastic pollution back onto the companies that created it in the first place!more

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/612/464/401/?z00m=32755965&redirectID=3120126697

Tom Ford Announces $1.2 Million Plastic Innovation Prize

www.onegreenplanet.org

By Eliza Erskine

Fashion innovator Tom Ford and 52HZ announced that submissions for the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize are open!

The prize’s aim is to “accelerate meaningful innovation around a replacement for thin-film plastic.” The two-year competition includes a $1 million prize. Thin-film plastic accounts for 46% of the plastic that leaks into the ocean annually.

“Thin-film plastic enters our lives for a minute, yet continues on as waste, never truly disappearing,” says Dr. Dune Ives, CEO of Lonely Whale. “The origin story of plastic starts with an innovation prize and the solution to the plastic crisis can be found in the tale of its creation. As a campaign organization capable of catalyzing global change on a massive scale, the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize is an opportunity to create another new beginning and promote solutions commensurate with the plastic pollution problem.”

Judges for the panel include Don Cheadle, Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Livia Firth, Trudie Styler, Susan Rockefeller, and more. The Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize is open May 20 through October 24, 2021, and guidelines and prize rules are available at www.plasticprize.org

“Sustainability is a key critical issue in our lives now,” says Tom Ford. “Plastic pollution is taking one of the greatest tolls on our environment and thin-film plastic makes up 46% of all plastic waste entering our ocean. We will continue to advocate for the adoption of the winning innovations and will do whatever we can to turn the tide of plastic pollution and thin-film plastic specifically. We need to work towards finding a solution before it’s too late to save our environment.”

Recently, other environmental prizes have been announced, such as Elon Musk‘s XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition, Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Food System Vision Prize.

Read more about fashion in One Green Planet:

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Drinking From a Can Has One Major Side Effect, Study Says

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https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/tom-ford-announces-1-2-million-plastic-innovation-prize/

petition: Big Australian Companies Are Not reaching Plastic Reduction Targets and Not Being Held Accountable For Plastic Use!

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: Federal Environmental Minister Sussan Ley

Large companies in Australia like Coca-Cola and Nestle or any earning over 5 million dollars per year have to reach packaging targets in regards to the amount of plastic being produced. Australia is likely to miss all of its own targets to rid the environment of plastic, unless there is a major and immediate overhaul of its management and enforcement of existing laws.

Act Now! Urge the Federal Environmental Minister Sussan Ley to enforce stricter rules surrounding the plastic reduction targets for large companies in Australia

Under the Australian Governments current approach, companies that produce and use packaging and have an annual turnover greater than 5 million dollars can either sign up to the Australian Packaging Covenant (APCO) or choose to be regulated by states and territories under national laws introduced in 2011. WWF Australia found that the states and territories were not enforcing these laws resulting in a system characterised by free riders were brands can volintarily meet APCO targets or be governed by regulations that arent enforced.

This loose and unregulated approach to plastic use has meant that many companies are not declaring their plastic use as it surpasses the Plastic Reduction Targets. Large companies are making profit and not being held accountable for the amount of plastic they are putting on the market, this needs to stop immediately if Australia want to be more sustainable country. 

Sign Now! Urge Sussan Ley to review the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 and make changes to hold big businesses accountable for their plastic use!EMBED

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https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/682/141/209/?z00m=32711619&redirectID=3097146522

Good News on Plastic Pollution

Tell Whole Foods: Put our planet over plastic

Dear CEO John Mackey,

Our oceans — and the whales, dolphins and sea turtles that live in them — are choking on plastic trash. We need to turn off the tap on the 8 million metric tons of plastic pollution that enter the ocean each year, and you can play a leading role by eliminating single-use plastic packaging.

Nothing that is used for just a couple of minutes should pollute our rivers and oceans for hundreds of years — especially when we don’t need it. If we’re going to protect ocean ecosystems, we need companies to make bold, concrete commitments to reduce and ultimately eliminate single-use plastic packaging. I’m urging Whole Foods to be a leader once again. Please eliminate all single-use plastic packaging from your operations.

https://environmental-action.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=41600&supporter_KEY=1220798&uid=0d0236e6916ce0fdcb06085fe49b10fc&utm_source=salsa&utm_medium=email&tag=email_blast:88324&utm_campaign=EAC4-FWST:SOLIDWSTRED:PLASTIC-0121&utm_content=EM9:00C:0HH-CCE

VIDEO Democrat filmmaker reverses opinion on immigration after working on documentary

Petition To Save Our Seas from Marine Debris

takeaction.oceanconservancy.org

Save Our Seas from Marine Debris

It probably comes as no surprise to you that plastics have been found nearly everywhere in our ocean—from the deepest reaches of the Mariana Trench to the most remote Arctic ice. Marine debris and plastic pollution pose a serious threat to our ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.

Congress has taken on the issue of marine debris through the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act. The Senate passed the legislation unanimously, and now it is up to the House to pass the bill so that it can be signed into law!

Will you take action and tell your Representative to support this legislation?

Your Representatives need to hear from their constituents that the issue of marine debris and plastic pollution is a problem that you want them to tackle. The bill:

  • Proposes a variety of new measures to bolster international engagement and cooperation to research and address the marine debris crisis;
  • Commits resources to scientific research to better understand solutions to plastic pollution, both here in the U.S. and around the world; and
  • Proposes a host of new efforts here at home to improve our waste management systems, particularly recycling infrastructure. For example, the bill creates a loan program for states to support trash wheel and litter trap technologies.

The Senate has already taken decisive action in the fight against marine debris by passing this important legislation. It is now up to the House of Representatives to vote on this bill so that it can be passed into law.

Take action today!

https://takeaction.oceanconservancy.org/page/65538/action/1?ea.tracking.id=20LPHCKAXX&utm_medium=email&utm_source=engagingnetworks&utm_campaign=202008_SOS2Sharks&utm_content=20200812-SOS2Sharks-Prospects-Email1B-20LPHCKAXX&ea.url.id=4860330&forwarded=true

160 turtles caught in plastic waste rescued from Bangladesh beach

phys.org

  1. Ecology
2 days ago

The Olive Ridley turtles floated to shore at Cox’s Bazar with a huge mass of plastic bottles, fishing nets, buoys and other debris

About 160 sea turtles, many of them injured after getting entangled in plastic waste, have been rescued after washing up on one of the world’s longest beaches in Bangladesh, an official and conservationists said Wednesday.

The Olive Ridley turtles began floating to shore at Cox’s Bazar with a huge mass of plastic bottles, fishing nets, buoys and other debris at the weekend.

Survivors were released back into the Bay of Bengal, but some were returning to the beach that stretches 120 kilometres (75 miles).

About 30 had died and were buried in the sand.

“This is the first time we have seen such a large-scale death and washing up of injured turtles on the beach. It is unprecedented,” said Nazmul Huda, deputy director of the local environment department.

“Around 160 turtles have been rescued alive… but after their release in the sea, some of these turtles have come back to the beach. I think they are too weak to stay in the sea.”

Many of the turtles sustained injuries from being caught in the estimated 50 tonnes of waste floating in a 10-kilometre stretch along the coast.

“Some of the turtles did not have legs or heads,” said Asaduzzaman Sayem from local conservation group Darianagar Green Boys.

“We rescued a 40-kilogramme (88-pound) turtle alive. It was entangled in plastic nets and it did not have legs.” Many of the turtles washed up on the beach in Bangladesh sustained injuries from being caught in the estimated 50 tonnes of waste floating off the coast.manyofthetur

 

Leading Bangladesh turtle and tortoise expert Shahriar Caesar Rahman of the NGO Creative Conservation Alliance said the creatures were “heavily stressed” and may not survive even after being freed from the waste.

“Local volunteers are trying their best to release them in the sea. But considering the injuries of these turtles it is unlikely they will survive,” he told AFP.

“So the best long-term solution will be to establish a rescue and rehabilitation facility for these turtles in Cox’s Bazar.”

The government is investigating why the turtles came ashore and sent two carcasses to a state-run university to be examined.

But Rahman said he believed the turtles may have become stuck in a massive plastic garbage patch floating in the sea.

“In the long term if we don’t manage pollution in the Bay of Bengal, many of these marine species will face similar fate,” he said.

Olive Ridleys are the most abundant of all sea turtles around the world, according to conservationists.

But their numbers have been declining and the species is recognised as vulnerable by the IUCN Red list.

https://phys.org/news/2020-07-turtles-caught-plastic-bangladesh-beach.amp?__twitter_impression=true

The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year | Plastics

amp.theguardian.com

A worker sorts through plastic bottles at the recycling plant near Bangkok in Thailand.

Show captionA mound of plastic bottles at a recycling plant near Bangkok in Thailand. Around 300 million tonnes of plastic is made every year and most of it is not recycled. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPAPlastics

Carlsberg and Coca-Cola back pioneering project to make ‘all-plant’ drinks bottles

Sat 16 May 2020 08.05 EDT

Beer and soft drinks could soon be sipped from “all-plant” bottles under new plans to turn sustainably grown crops into plastic in partnership with major beverage makers.

A biochemicals company in the Netherlands hopes to kickstart investment in a pioneering project that hopes to make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels.

The plans, devised by renewable chemicals company Avantium, have already won the support of beer-maker Carlsberg, which hopes to sell its pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic.

Avantium’s chief executive, Tom van Aken, says he hopes to greenlight a major investment in the world-leading bioplastics plant in the Netherlands by the end of the year. The project, which remains on track despite the coronavirus lockdown, is set to reveal partnerships with other food and drink companies later in the summer.

Ears of wheat.

Sugars extracted from wheat, along with corn and beets, will be used to produce the plant plastic. Photograph: Images of Kent/Alamy

The project has the backing of Coca-Cola and Danone, which hope to secure the future of their bottled products by tackling the environmental damage caused by plastic pollution and a reliance on fossil fuels.

Globally around 300 million tonnes of plastic is made from fossil fuels every year, which is a major contributor to the climate crisis. Most of this is not recycled and contributes to the scourge of microplastics in the world’s oceans. Microplastics can take hundreds of years to decompose completely.

“This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels, and can be recycled – but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do,” says Van Aken.

Avantium’s plant plastic is designed to be resilient enough to contain carbonate drinks. Trials have shown that the plant plastic would decompose in one year using a composter, and a few years longer if left in normal outdoor conditions. But ideally, it should be recycled, said Van Aken.

The bio-refinery plans to break down sustainable plant sugars into simple chemical structures that can then be rearranged to form a new plant-based plastic – which could appear on supermarket shelves by 2023.

The path-finder project will initially make a modest 5,000 tonnes of plastic every year using sugars from corn, wheat or beets. However, Avantium expects its production to grow as demand for renewable plastics climbs.

In time, Avantium plans to use plant sugars from sustainable sourced biowaste so that the rise of plant plastic does not affect the global food supply chain.

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https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/16/the-end-of-plastic-new-plant-based-bottles-will-degrade-in-a-year?CMP=fb_gu&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&__twitter_impression=true

Sign Petition Tell Coca-Cola you DO NOT want plastic bottles!

change.org

Sign the Petition Ashley Boeka started this petition to Coca-Cola At Davos 2020, Coca-Cola’s head of sustainability, Bea Perez, said that Coca-Cola will not stop producing single-use plastics because consumers “still want them.” She went on to say that it would alienate customers and impact Coca-Cola’s bottom line. “Customers like them because they reseal and are lightweight.” Needless to say, this is a disheartening thing to hear from the person in charge of sustainability at one of the largest companies in the world. Coca-Cola is one of the worst contributors to plastic pollution, producing about three million tons of plastic packaging a year – equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute. In 2019, it was found to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic waste by the charity Break Free from Plastic. Although Coca-Cola has made a pledge to recycle as many plastic bottles as possible by 2030, they are still flagrantly contributing to the world’s plastic waste, at a time when our planet cannot afford for LITERALLY ANYONE to solely be concerned about their cash flow. Coca-Cola is one of the most profitable companies in the world – they should be able to find a new, sustainable way to bottle their products to the satisfaction of their consumers. It’s the least they can do. Tell Coca-Cola that you DO NOT want them to produce or sell plastic bottles. Sign and Share today to say NO to Coca-Cola’s Plastic Plans.

https://www.change.org/p/tell-coca-cola-we-do-not-want-plastic-bottles

New Research on the Possible Effects of Micro-and Nano-plastics on Marine Animals

iaea.org

Jennet Orayeva, IAEA Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications 3 minutes


According to the UN Environment Programme, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up the world’s oceans every year, often carried there by rivers. If the trend continues, by 2050 our oceans could contain more plastic than fish.

Environmental plastic pollution has become a major ecological and societal concern. Plastic pollutants vary widely in size, from large debris, such as fishing nets and single-use plastic bags, to invisible nano-sized plastic particles. While the visible impact of large plastic debris, so-called macroplastics, in marine environments has been well documented, the potential harm caused by microplastics and even more by nanoplastics is much less clear.

Plastic particles below 5 mm in length are called microplastics. The smaller ones, with a size equal to or less than 100 nm (1/10 000 mm) are called nanoplastics. They are so tiny that one cannot see them with naked eye or even with an ordinary optical microscope.

Microplastic particles are accidentally consumed by marine organisms, which are then consumed by predator fish. Nanoplastic particles are even more toxic to living organisms as they are more likely to be absorbed through the walls of digestive tracts and thereby transported into the tissues and organs. Consequently, such plastic particles can interfere with various physiological processes, from neurotransmission to oxidative stress and immunity levels of freshwater and marine organisms.

Over the last decade, the global scientific community has invested substantial work into advancing the knowledge of the impact of plastic debris on diverse aquatic organisms. However, monitoring methods for small microplastics and nanoplastics are still in the development phase, which means that their exact concentration in the oceans remains unknown.

“This is where nuclear technology can play an important role,” added Metian. “Nuclear and isotopic techniques are already successfully used to study pollution processes. Their advantage is that they are highly sensitive and precise and can be used similarly to study small microplastic and nanoplastic movement and impact.”

At the same time, from a toxicology perspective, it is important to distinguish the toxicity of plastic particles per se from the toxicity associated with the contaminants that can become attached to them. To date, research into the effects of virgin micro and nano-sized plastic particles in freshwater and marine fish is still limited, hence the increased focus on investigating the toxicity of virgin plastics at the IAEA.

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This Earth Day Watch The Story of Plastic Pollution