Ocean Plastic Projected to Triple Within Seven Years

If we don't act now, plastic pollution in the world's oceans is projected to increase three-fold within seven years, according to a startling new report . The Future of the Sea report, released Wednesday for the UK government, found that human beings across the globe produce more than 300 million metric tons of plastic per year. Unfortunately, a lot of that material ends up in our waters, with the total amount of plastic debris in the sea predicted to increase from 50 million metric tons in 2015 to 150 million metric tons by 2025. Roughly 70 percent of all marine litter is plastic, and the effect of this non-biodegradable waste can be devastating for marine biodiversity . "There is extensive evidence that entanglement in, or ingestion of, plastics can cause injury and death to a wide range of marine organisms, including commercially important fish and shellfish," the report says. The...
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The Ocean Has Released an Insane Amount of CO2, And No One Even Noticed

Our planet's climate is built on a whole host of interlinked chemical reactions and counter-reactions, and we just learned about another: an underwater heatwave has triggered a worryingly huge release of CO2 from Amphibolis antarctica seagrass off north-western Australia.   Vast tracts of these flowering marine plants were killed by the stress of living in waters that were 2-4 degrees Celsius (3.6-7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal back in the summer of 2010-2011, researchers have found. More than a third of the seagrass meadows were potentially affected. And no one really noticed. And the findings have very real implications for the kind of self-perpetuating heat rises we could be in for, say the international team of researchers, as too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere warms the planet and leads to the release of even more greenhouse gases. (Paul Lavery) Losing seagrass is a double whammy for our environment's health...
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The great Pacific garbage patch is even trashier than we thought

Plastic is everywhere, from our homes and everyday lives all the way up to the illusorily pristine Arctic. The oceans are no exception—our high seas are accumulating plastic just as fast as we can push it out into the world . In a new paper in Scientific Reports, researchers found that the infamous great Pacific garbage patch contains 16 times more plastic than previous estimates showed, and it seems to be increasing over time. The great Pacific garbage patch is one of six areas of the ocean known to accumulate plastic, located in the north Pacific Ocean. While there is a lot of plastic there, the debris aren’t clumped together like some floating landfill. Instead, the plastics (many of them broken down into teeny tiny pieces) are distributed widely across an area of about 617,000 square miles. This particular study didn’t just trawl the zone with screens to measure the...
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More than 70 whales die as 150 trapped in mass stranding in Western Australia

More than 150 whales have washed ashore in Western Australia , of which about 75 have died. A rescue operation is under way in Hamelin Bay, near the town of Augusta on the state’s south-western tip, with volunteers and vets trying to keep the surviving short-finned pilot whales alive before deciding when to herd them out to sea. About 50 of the whales are on the beach and 25 are in the shallows. One witness described trying to steer one of the animals out to sea, only to watch it beach itself again. Jeremy Chick, who is controlling the rescue attempt, said the main priorities were to ensure the welfare of the remaining live whales and the safety of everyone involved in the operation before any rescue attempt was made to herd the whales back out to sea. “The strength of the animals and the windy and possibly wet weather...
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#Plastic is one of the most enduring materials we make; it takes an estimated 500 to 1,000 years for it to #degrade, but 50 percent of the plastic we produce is used once and then thrown away. Eight million tons of plastic ends up in the #ocean every year. #oceandebris #plasticpollution #sustainability #goblu3 Facts like this are plentiful, but you get the idea. So, a call to arms. Here are some very easy things to give up in order to curb your contribution to the problem.
#Scubadivers may be more aware of the threats facing #sharks — but we also feel helpless about what we can do. It’s a sobering statistic: Up to 25 percent of the world’s sharks and rays are threatened with #extinction, according to the #IUCN #SharkSpecialistGroup (SSG). Using the #IUCNRedList of #ThreatenedSpecies criteria, the SSG says that of the 1,041 species assessed, 107 rays and 74 sharks are classified as threatened.