Scientists find microplastics in blood for first time

Scientists find microplastics in blood for first time

via Phys.org

Microplastic sperules in tooth paste, about 30 µm in diameter. Credit: Dantor (talk) 20:55, 18 November 2013 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have discovered microplastics in human blood for the first time, warning that the ubiquitous particles could also be making their way into organs.

The tiny pieces of mostly invisible plastic have already been found almost everywhere else on Earth, from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains as well as in the air, soil and food chain.

Read the full story here: https://phys.org/news/2022-03-scientists-microplastics-blood.html

Visible ocean plastics just the tip of the iceberg

Visible ocean plastics just the tip of the iceberg

Simulations find the majority of ocean plastics may be on the seafloor or otherwise difficult to monitor, with vastly more plastic waste likely trapped on land

Simulating a half century of movement and degradation of plastic waste in the ocean, a new study estimates that nearly two-thirds of ocean plastics are outside the reach of current monitoring methods. Furthermore, the study suggests that the estimated 25.3 million metric tons of total ocean plastics may represent only 5% of all mismanaged plastic waste to date, with the rest still on land.

Read the full story here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/03/220318092128.htm

plastic scrap

UN passes historic resolution to end plastic pollution: What does it mean, why this is a need of the hour

UN passes historic resolution to end plastic pollution: What does it mean, why this is a need of the hour

via Firstpost

The landmark resolution addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design and disposal. The resolution calls for immediate collective voluntary action by countries towards the goal of ending plastic pollution.

In a historic move to deal with the global problem of plastic waste, 175 nations across the world adopted a historic resolution at the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi to forge an international “legally binding agreement” by 2024 to end plastic pollution.

The landmark resolution addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design and disposal.

Read the full story here: https://www.firstpost.com/world/un-passes-historic-resolution-to-end-plastic-pollution-what-does-it-mean-why-this-is-a-need-of-the-hour-10430181.html

Stanford pediatric arbovirologist Desiree LaBeaud’s quest to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases led to an unlikely culprit: plastic trash

LaBeaud’s quest to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases led to an unlikely culprit: plastic trash

via Stanford Report

In 2021, Stanford pediatrician and arbovirologist Desiree LaBeaud and her colleagues launched the nonprofit organization HERI-Kenya to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in Kenya by cleaning up the plastic waste where the insect breed.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a global havoc-wreaker, responsible for debilitating and deadly illnesses ranging from dengue fever to chikungunya and Zika virus. With a prodigious ability to multiply and a growing range extending from Africa and South America to much of Asia and many parts of the United States, it infects an estimated 400 million people annually.

plastic scrap
photo credit: Julia Joppien

 

No vaccines or therapeutics are available for these illnesses, so targeting the insect’s breeding grounds is critical to saving lives.

That’s why, in 2015, one of the first things Desiree LaBeaud did upon joining the Stanford Department of Pediatrics was apply for a Bechtel Faculty Scholar Award. She wanted to use the funds to teach Kenyan school children and community members about the mosquito breeding grounds around their homes. She had been studying mosquito-borne illness in Kenya for over a decade as a pediatric arbovirologist, a specialist who studies diseases caused by blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes and ticks. She saw that dengue fever was sickening many Kenyan children due to a lack of awareness about its cause and how to prevent it.

Read the full story here: https://news.stanford.edu/report/2022/02/09/investigating-mosquito-borne-diseases-led-unlikely-culprit-plastic-trash/

How ‘super-enzymes’ that eat plastics could curb our waste problem

How ‘super-enzymes’ that eat plastics could curb our waste problem

via The Guardian

plastic scrap
Photo by Catherine Sheila on Pexels.com

Beaches littered with plastic bottles and wrappers. Marine turtles, their stomachs filled with fragments of plasticPlastic fishing nets dumped at sea where they can throttle unsuspecting animals. And far out in the Pacific Ocean, an expanse of water more than twice the size of France littered with plastic waste weighing at least 79,000 tonnes.

The plastic pollution problem is distressingly familiar, but many organisations are working to reduce it. Alongside familiar solutions such as recycling, a surprising ally has emerged: micro-organisms. A handful of microbes have evolved the ability to “eat” certain plastics, breaking them down into their component molecules. These tiny organisms could soon play a key role in reducing plastic waste and building a greener economy.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/05/how-super-enzymes-that-eat-plastics-could-curb-our-waste-problem

Mouse study shows microplastics infiltrate blood brain barrier

Mouse study shows microplastics infiltrate blood brain barrier

Much of the millions of metric tons of plastic waste that washes into the sea each year is broken down into tiny fragments by the forces of the ocean, and researchers are beginning to piece together what this means for organisms that consume them. Scientists in Korea have turned their attention toward the top of the food chain by exploring the threat these particles pose to mammal brains, where they were found to act as toxic substances.

In recent years, studies have revealed the kind of threat microplastics pose to marine creatures. This has included weakening the adhesive abilities of muscles, impairing the cognitive ability of hermit crabs and causing aneurysms and reproductive changes in fish. They’ve turned up in the guts of sea turtles all over the world, and been discovered in seal poo as evidence of them traveling up the food chain. Research has also shown they can alter the shape of human lung cells.

Read the full story here: https://newatlas.com/environment/microplastics-blood-brain-barrier/

KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL CELEBRATES 24 YEARS OF AMERICA RECYCLES DAY

KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL CELEBRATES 24 YEARS OF AMERICA RECYCLES DAY

Every November 15, thousands of local communities across the country come together to participate in America Recycles Day® – a national, trademark initiative established by Keep America Beautiful® in 1997. It is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.

plastic scrap buyer

In its 24th year, America Recycles Day educates and encourages individuals on how to be more mindful of what they consume, where and how to properly recycle, and to pledge to recycle more and recycle right in their everyday lives.  

Read the full story here: https://kab.org/keep-america-beautiful-celebrates-24-years-of-america-recycles-day/

 

TRASH AND BURN

BIG BRANDS STOKE CEMENT KILNS WITH PLASTIC WASTE AS RECYCLING FALTERS

Consumer goods giants are funding projects to send plastic trash to cement plants, where it is burned as cheap energy. They’re touting it as a way to keep plastic out of dumps and use less fossil fuel. Critics say it undercuts recycling efforts and worsens air quality. One said it was “like moving the landfill from the ground to the sky.”

The global consumer goods industry’s plans for dealing with the vast plastic waste it generates can be seen here in a landfill on the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital, where a swarm of excavators tears into stinking mountains of garbage.

Read the full story here: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/environment-plastic-cement/

Trafficking of plastic waste is on the rise and criminal groups are profiting, report says

via LA Times

Americans like to think they are recycling their plastic takeout food containers, cutlery and flimsy grocery bags when they toss them into those green or blue bins. But, too often, that waste is shipped overseas, sometimes with the help of organized crime groups, where it litters cities, clogs waterways or is burned, filling the air with toxic chemicals.

report published Monday by the independent Swiss research group Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, whose members include current and former law-enforcement officials, sheds new light on how this waste winds up in poorer countries that had agreed not to accept it.

Read the full story here: https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-11-08/report-trafficking-of-plastic-waste-is-on-the-rise-and-criminal-groups-are-profiting

Plastics to outpace coal’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 -report

WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – The carbon-intensive production of plastics is on pace to emit more greenhouse gases than coal-fired power plants within this decade, undercutting global efforts to tackle climate change, a report released on Thursday said.

The report by Bennington College and Beyond Plastics projected that the plastic industry releases at least 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year throughout its lifecycle from the drilling for oil and gas to fuel its facilities to incineration of plastic waste. That is the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants.

Read the full story here: https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/plastics-outpace-coals-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-2030-report-2021-10-21/

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Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com