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Tag archives for plastics

Plastic: The big breakup

Co-authored by Erica Cirino My dog Foosa and I step onto the beach, and in the first few steps I find—as usual—something made of plastic. This beach is strewn with everything from fiberglass buoys to crumbling Styrofoam cups to poorly disposed “disposable” lighters to plastic bags (use once, throw away, except that “away” is here).…

So you live near a coral reef: Why experts say that’s not good news for reef conservation

Co-authored by Erica Cirino My favorite beach on Long Island’s North Shore, where I live, is more than 700 miles away from the nearest coral reef (in Bermuda). This distance may be a good thing: Recent research suggests the further a coral reef is from human civilization, the better. (To get close from far away,…

Pesky plastic: The true harm of microplastics in the oceans

Co-authored by Jessica Perelman Pollution is evidently a major concern when talking about environmental protection in light of human development, but waste that ends up in the oceans is oftentimes overlooked. This is in part because many people do not come face-to-face with it on a daily basis, and the effects caused by contaminating the world’s…

Your plastic is getting to the Caribbean more often than you are, and it’s spoiling your next visit

Who left their trash behind on this remote Caribbean island? Then I realized. It wasn’t left. It arrived. An endless flotilla of refuse heedlessly sent from afar. It’s heartbreaking. The image of a lone bottle washing up on a remote tropical island is the clichéd stuff of literature, movies and New Yorker cartoons. But what…

Race for Water Odyssey against Plastic Pollution – The Countdown Begins

Less than one month from the big launch, the R4WO teams are putting the final touches on the expedition’s preparations. Technical details are adjusted, and bonds between team members grow stronger through training sessions in Lorient (France). Everything falls into place under optimal conditions before the trip to Bordeaux, R4WO’s first stop.   Final Tests:…

Geography in the News: Swirling Ocean Garbage Dumps

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM The Great Swirling Pacific Garbage Patch Ocean pollution is growing at an astonishing rate. On June 1, 2008, two scientists and a photographer/blogger sailed from Long Beach, California, and headed westward across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. The two men and a woman were…

The Ikkatsu Project Unites Scientists and Adventurers

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Gregg Treinish founded Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, a nonprofit organization connecting outdoor adventurers with scientists in need of data from the field. He also organizes his own expeditions, contributing to research on wildlife-human interaction, fragmented habitats, and threatened species. —- Quite frequently, I am asked about the idea of people greenwashing…

Gyre Expedition Probes Impact of Plastic Pollution on Remote Beaches

Earlier this summer, a team of scientists and artists set out along coastal Alaska, to document the impact that plastic pollution is having on remote beaches. The project, called the Gyre Expedition, was launched by the Alaska SeaLife Center and the Anchorage Museum. The goal is multimedia reportage and art that will be showcased in Anchorage,…

New Concerns About Plastic Pollution in Great Lakes ‘Garbage Patch’

Until recently, my concept of a ‘garbage patch’ was of an area of ocean with large pieces of floating debris, the kind of stray fishing gear and trash from ships and shorelines that collect where currents form eddies far from view of most people. Having seen my share of sea trash in 20,000+ miles of…

Should Plastics Be Labeled “Hazardous” to Reduce Ocean Pollution?

With packaging holding in place nearly all of our consumer desires, slow decomposition rates, and swirling debris fields the size of Texas in our oceans – it seems plastic isn’t going anywhere fast.  A recent Comment piece in Nature by authors Chelsea Rochman at UC Davis and Mark Anthony Browne at UC Santa Barbara offers…