A high-altitude clean-up in Bolivia’s Valley of the Souls

via Reuters

In Bolivia’s Valley of the Souls, razor sharp rock formations pierce the blue sky above the nearby highland city of La Paz, from where urban sprawl over years has left the picturesque spot littered with plastic waste and construction rubble.

Now the rocky canyon is getting a clean up amid a wider push to spruce up the South American country’s scenic spots and waterways, with hundreds of volunteers, aided by heavy machinery, shifting over 15 tons of debris in the last week.

Read the full story here: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/high-altitude-clean-up-bolivias-valley-souls-2021-05-04/

Why 99% of ocean plastic pollution is “missing”

via Vox

Starting in the 1990s, the world’s attention began turning to the specter of ocean garbage patches — heaps of plastic and other debris that accumulate in distinct areas of the ocean, thanks to currents known as gyres. These patches came to symbolize our global addiction to plastic production and consumption.

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.

Read the full story here: https://www.vox.com/videos/22406194/plastic-pollution-in-the-ocean-99-percent-missing

This 185-foot sailboat can gobble up to three tons of plastic waste per hour

via Mobile Syrup

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, at least eight million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year and make up 80 percent of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. If nothing is done about the situation, there will be more plastic waste in the oceans than fish by 2050. French ocean adventurer Yvan Bourgnon and his team have therefore taken it upon themselves to heal the ocean slowly but surely. They’ve designed Manta, a 185-foot, plastic-eating catamaran (sailboat) powered by renewable energy. Plastic trash is literally scooped up and converted into fuel to help power the catamaran.

Read more at MobileSyrup.comThis 185-foot sailboat can gobble up to three tons of plastic waste per hour

Could Plastic-Eating Mushrooms Solve Humanity’s Plastic Problem?

via Interesting Engineering

Since the mass production of plastics began in the 1950s, humans have created 9 billion tons of plastic, and this creates a crisis that’s not easy to tackle since plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade. Those used by the people of the ’60s still exist in some form, and with only 9 percent recycled, only 12 percent has been incinerated.

This has lead scientists to search for alternative methods for plastic reduction, and one solution that could aid humanity might be hidden in fungi. Scientists have discovered mushrooms that eat plastic over the years: Some mushroom species have the ability to consume polyurethane, which is one of the main ingredients in plastic products.

Read the full story here: https://interestingengineering.com/could-plastic-eating-mushrooms-solve-humanitys-plastic-problem

Airborne plastic pollution ‘spiralling around the globe’, study finds

via The Guardian

Microplastic pollution is now “spiralling around the globe”, according to a study of airborne plastic particles.

The researchers said human pollution has led to a global plastic cycle, akin to natural processes such as the carbon cycle, with plastic moving through the atmosphere, oceans and land. The result is the “plastification” of the planet, said one scientist.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/12/airborne-plastic-pollution-spiralling-around-the-globe-study-finds

It’s not just oceans: scientists find plastic is also polluting the air

via The Guardian

plastic pollution
Photo by Vitaly Vlasov on Pexels.com

For several years scientists were puzzled why Delhi was more susceptible to thick smogs than other polluted cities such as Beijing. New research links this to tiny chloride particles in the air that help water droplets to form. Globally, chloride particles are mainly found close to coasts, due to sea spray, but the air in Delhi and over inland India contains much more than expected.

At first, the sources were thought to be illegal factory units around Delhi that recycle electronics and those that use strong hydrochloric acid to clean and process metals. These are certainly part of the problem, but new measurements have revealed another source.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/26/not-just-oceans-plastic-polluting-air-delhi-smog

Seagrass ‘Neptune balls’ bundle plastic waste

via Phys.Org

Underwater seagrass in coastal areas appear to trap bits of plastic in natural bundles of fibre known as “Neptune balls,” researchers said Thursday.

With no help from humans, the swaying plants—anchored to shallow seabeds—may collect nearly 900 million plastic items in the Mediterranean alone every year, they reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

read the full story here: https://phys.org/news/2021-01-seagrass-meadows-marine-plastic-sea.html

Is laundry fuelling the marine plastics crisis?

via BusinessGreen.com

Clothing and textiles are a major and underacknowledged source of microplastics pollutions in the world’s oceans, a new study analysing seawater samples from across the Arctic Ocean has found.

The study revealed that synthetic fibres make up more than 90 per cent of microplastic pollution found in near-surface seawater samples from across the Arctic. Nearly three-quarters of those fibres are polyester and resemble fibres widely used in clothing and textiles, with the bulk of this pollution thought to released during domestic laundry, the research states.

Read the full story here: https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4025745/laundry-fuelling-marine-plastics-crisis

Plastic Fuels: Do They Fix Waste Or Greenwash It?

via Forbes

Marketed as a solution to the environmental and waste problems the plastic industry is currently facing, recycled carbon fuels are problematic. And they will be at odds with Wednesday’s vote from the EU Parliament backing a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

briefing published by Zero Waste Europe shows that these fuels are produced by converting plastics back to their original fossil form. As they are burnt and carbon is released to the atmosphere, they are ultimately exacerbating climate change.

Read the full story here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelabarbiroglio/2020/10/08/the-pros-and-cons-of-plastic-to-fuels/#4508a3ce48cb

Oceans’ plastic tide may be far larger than thought

Artificial fibres now go everywhere. The oceans’ plastic tide may reach their whole depth, entering marine life and people.

via Eco-Business

The world’s seas could be home to a vast reservoir of hitherto unidentified pollution, the growing burden of the oceans’ plastic tide.

Up to 21 million tonnes of tiny and invisible plastic fibres could be floating in the first 200 metres of the Atlantic Ocean alone. And as British research exposed the scale of the problem, American chemists revealed that for the first time they had found microplastic fibres incorporated within human organ tissues.

Read the full story here: https://www.eco-business.com/news/oceans-plastic-tide-may-be-far-larger-than-thought/