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53 trillion tons of plastic in Earth's waterways by 2030, researchers warn

A newly published study is warning that there will be 53 trillion metric tons of plastic pollution in the world's rivers, lakes, and oceans by 2030.The research, published in Science, found that humanity is on track to put 53 million megatons (the equivalent 53 trillion tons) into the world's waterways, even if severe measures are taken to reduce the plastic waste currently being produced."Unless growth in plastic production and use is halted, a fundamental transformation of the plastic economy to a framework based on recycling is essential, where end-of-life plastic products are valued rather than becoming waste," said University of Toronto assistant professor and study co-author Chelsea Rochman, in a statement.Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean is yet another remote island littered in plastic waste (Credit: Marcus Eriksen) PLASTIC WASTE IN OCEANS WILL TRIPLE BY 2040, RESEARCHERS SAY"Even if governments around the world meet their ambitious global com…

Plastic pollution: Aldabra in Indian Ocean has most waste ever seen on any island, say scientists

A vital refuge for rare wildlife has been polluted by the largest accumulation of plastic waste of any island on the planet.Aldabra, a remote atoll in the Indian Ocean, has 513 tonnes of plastic washed up on its shore, including 360,000 flip-flops, according to researchers from the UK and Seychelles.Sky News joined the team from The Queen's College, University of Oxford, and the Seychelles Islands Foundation last year, as they removed 25 tonnes of marine plastic.We saw turtles attempting to nest on beaches littered with an extraordinary number of flip-flops, bottles, lighters and other plastic debris that had been carried thousands of miles by ocean currents.The three-week clean-up of Aldabra, described by Sir David Attenborough as one of the world's last remaining natural treasures, underlined the logistical challenge of removing piles of plastic from remote islands.New calculations by the team, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, suggest that despite the effo…

Plastic pollution: West can’t dump its waste on Africa – Kenny MacAskill

Our View: Nurdles are pollution, and a Bianca Spill cleanup should happen

Most of us might not know what to call the small bits of plastic, but we know what to call it when we see these pieces â€" pollution. There’s a big, nauseating mess and no one responsible is paying enough attention and taking action.They’re nurdles, pre-production pellets used by companies for packaging as an economical method to move large amounts of plastic to end-use manufacturers across the Gulf of Mexico and oceans away. The Gulf has one of the highest concentrations of plastic pollution in the world, according to Mark Benfield, an oceanographer and plastic pollution expert at LSU’s School for the Coast & Environment.This marine plastic pollution is a big issue in our region, perhaps more than other places where there are nurdles, because there’s so many of them traveling our waterways.Just weeks ago, cargo ship CMA CGM Bianca spilled millions or billions of nurdles in the mighty Mississippi River around New Orleans. They started floating around, and many found t…

Plastic debris leaches toxins into the stomachs of sea birds

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Sea birds regularly mistake bits of plastic for natural food, putting them at risk of physical harm -- they can choke on debris and it can also cause intestinal blockage.But new research -- published Wednesday in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science -- suggests plastic pollution can also poison sea birds, leaching toxins into the stomachs of birds that ingest plastic.To better understand the toxic threat posed by plastic pollution, researchers surveyed the chemical composition of stomach oil of northern fulmars, an abundant subarctic seabird. Hunters on the Faroe Islands collect the nutrient-rich oil."I've been working on northern fulmars for almost 10 years," lead study author Susanne Kühn said in a news release."As these seabirds ingest plastics regularly, and 93 percent of the fulmars from the North Sea have some plastic in their stomachs, it is important to understand the potential harm this could cause," said Kühn, marine biologi…

Plastic pollution dumped into oceans will triple by 2040

Plastic pollution in oceans will triple by 2040, report saysSHARESHARETWEETSHAREEMAILClick to expandUP NEXTDespite the growth of biodegradable materials and bans on single use plastics, a recent study finds that there could be 600 million tons of plastic in the oceans by 2040, which is equivalent to the weight of over three million blue whales.Recycling has become increasingly popular over the years, but the study says that the complex composition of plastic materials limits the ability for technologies to easily sort and reprocess them.For example, black plastic cannot be recycled in Canada because technologies do not recognize them on the sorting belt and pizza boxes cannot be recycled if they are greasy. Many people are in the habit of checking for the optimistic recycling symbol, but the reality is that many recycling facilities cannot save multi-material plastics and 86 per cent of discarded plastics in Canada end up in landfills.The researchers say that their ominous projection …

Environmentalists fear increase in plastic pollution amid coronavirus pandemic