In the 1967 coming-of-age rom-com “The Graduate,” a family friend tells recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock (played by a young Dustin Hoffman) that he should pursue a future in the plastics industry. In the scene, plastics represent the bland and artificial future of a corporate career that Braddock so desperately wants to avoid.
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Each year just over 283,000 pounds of plastic waste are carried by the Delaware River and ultimately dumped in the ocean.
That puts the Delaware at the low end of the 1,656 rivers the authors of a new paper published in the journal Science Advances say contribute 80% of the plastic waste that ends up in the sea.
There’s an incomprehensible amount of plastic in the ocean – estimates put the known total at 5 trillion individual pieces, or around 150 million tonnes. An additional 8 million tonnes finds its way into the ocean every year. That’s only increased thanks to Covid-19 and the resulting surge in single-use items like masks and gloves.
Close to 700 marine species are now known to be harmed by plastic, of which more than 100 are endangered. Its economic impact on coastal communities is estimated to be up to 19 billion USD per year. What’s more, plastics are magnets for toxic chemicals, which, when consumed by the fish we eat, potentially impacts the health of the three billion people who rely on seafood as their primary source of protein. If current trends are allowed to continue, the amount of plastic entering the oceans is set to double in the next ten years. It should be clear that we must solve this, and the sooner, the better.
A new study published in Science Advances Friday found that 80 percent of the plastic that enters the world’s oceans via rivers comes from more than 1,000 waterways. That’s as much as 100 times the number of rivers previously estimated, study leader the Ocean Cleanup explained.
A lot of the plastic we consume ends up in the ocean due to man-made causes, such as poor waste management practices. Some of it ends up there because of natural disasters. There’s a lot of Japanese plastic floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, for example, due to the 2011 tsunami. Japan is a country that otherwise has above-average waste management policies.
‘If we’re not up there cleaning up this threat, nobody is’: Team hauls more than 47 tons of marine debris out of Pacific Ocean
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that a team of scientists hauled 47.2 tons of marine debris out of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the North Pacific Ocean.
Plastic Bank Celebrates Stopping Its 1 Billionth Bottle of Ocean-Bound Plastic, Partnership With SC Johnson Accounts for Half of the Total
Plastic Bank®, a social enterprise revolutionizing the global supply chain for recycled ocean-bound plastic, announced today it has reached the significant milestone of stopping 1 billion plastic bottles from entering the world’s oceans. Plastic Bank’s global partnership with SC Johnson, an industry leading manufacturer of household consumer brands, has accounted for more than half of this environmental achievement.
Ocean plastic pollution is an urgent and global problem. The Pew Charitable Trusts’ recent report, “Breaking the Plastic Wave,” and accompanying paper in the journal Science, provides the results of an ambitious modeling effort to understand how plastic production, use, and disposal contribute to this issue.
Oysters and clams are some of nature’s most efficient feeders: these shellfish slurp up gallons of water, sieving out food and nutrients as they go, and repurposing some of those raw materials to make their shells.