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All posts tagged plastic pollution

Micro plastics are everywhere. They have been found at the bottom of the sea, mixed into sand, and get carried by the wind. They have even been found inside us!

A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology says it’s possible that humans may be consuming anywhere from 39,000 to 52,000 micro plastic particles a year.

Read the full article here.

Written by: SARAH GIBBENS for National Geographic

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  1. Help end demand for turtle shell products. Souvenirs made from the shell of endangered hawksbill sea turtles are sold to travelers around Asia. Educate your travelers on how and why to avoid these products. Join our Too Rare to Wear campaign for free resources to share.
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Plastic in the ocean impacts sea turtles and other wildlife and travelers are a major source of plastic pollution. Encourage clients to use reusable water bottles, bags, and straws and to recycle plastic where possible. Learn more at Travelers Against Plastic.
  3. Respect sea turtles in the water. Avoid touching, feeding, or crowding a sea turtle in the water, these things can stress them. Get more tips for interacting with sea turtles in the ocean at Divers For Turtles.
  4. Choose sunscreen carefully. Chemicals in some types of sunscreen can damage coral reefs and pollute turtle habitat. Encourage your travelers to avoid any sunscreen with “oxybenzone” and look for brands labeled as “Reef Friendly” and avoid sprays that can pollute the sand where turtles nest. Check out this article in Vogue about the best ways to avoid sunburn. 
  5. Choose responsibly caught seafood. Sea turtles are vulnerable to commercial fishing methods like trawling, longlines, and drift gillnets, becoming unwanted catch (also known as “bycatch”) that is discarded like trash. To help make turtle friendly seafood choices check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch which is also available as a handy app for your phone.
  6. Reduce your carbon footprint. Climate change affects the health of coral reefs which are vital to the hawksbill’s survival. A warming planet also skews sex ratios in baby turtles, changes the abundance and distribution of prey, increases erosion of nesting beaches, and more. Look for ways to reduce your company’s carbon footprint by using renewable energy and public transportation.
  7. Donate to ocean conservation organizations. By supporting organizations working to protect sea turtles and other ocean wildlife, you can show your clients that you care about the destinations they visit. Contact us through SEEturtles.org if you want an introduction to an organization near your operations.

Written by: Brad Nahill, President of SEE Turtles

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Credit: Shutterstock

Is plastic food packaging the next thing millennials are going to kill?

More than a million seabirds die every year because of plastic, and puffin numbers on mainland Shetland have fallen dramatically in recent years, in part due to plastic buildup on its beaches. By 2050, it is predicted that 99 percent of the world’s seabirds will have plastic in their guts.

“On an average day, I might buy a plastic-wrapped sandwich from Pret; a plastic yogurt tub or punnet of grapes; sometimes a coffee in a plastic-lined disposable cup. I think about the puffins and feel like a monster.” – Phoebe

Are you worried about plastic pollution too? Read more on why this editor turn away from single-use plastics here.

By Phoebe Hurst for MUNCHIES.

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plastic pollution, volunteers, plastic ocean

Volunteers clearing plastic from a beach in Mumbai, India. Photo by Hemanshi Kamani/Hindustan Times

Despite the increasing concern about the issue, there is little sign that plastic use is falling. Half of all the plastic ever made was produced in the last 13 years, says investment house Hermes, while output is set to increase by 40% in the next decade.

The plastics problem is a stark illustration of the problems of a global economy that is “overwhelmingly linear”. The linear economy sees goods produced in a “take, make and waste” model that assumes resources are essentially infinite and will always be available to make new products.

The circular economy requires a significant shift in mindset, starting with the design process, which must ensure that goods not only have minimal environmental impact in terms of the use of water, energy and materials, but also that they can easily be repurposed or recycled through a “cradle-to-cradle” approach.

Read the full article here.

By Mike Scott for Forbes.

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recycling, sustainability thailand, children recycling

Photo: © Siriporn Sriaram – IUCN/MFF

In a special World Environment Day op-ed, Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director for IUCN Asia and Director of IUCN’s Regional Hub for Asia-Oceania, writes about grassroots initiatives and efforts to engage the private sector that IUCN and Mangroves for the Future are already undertaking.

In Trat, residents of Mairood are showing how local action is not only possible and replicable, but also empowering and lasting. Through a project initiated by Mangroves for the Future (MFF), a joint IUCN and UNDP programme that provides grants across 11 countries, the community has started sorting, composting and recycling waste, and is looking to reduce collected waste by 80%.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN News.

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Credit: Chiang Mai Citylife

It is easy to blame the government for a lack of bans, but responsibility also lies in the will of the people, or lack thereof. Without a public outcry for stricter regulations, plastic bans remain elusive. Part of the problem stems from a lack of education, the laissez faire attitude of so many and the fact that there are many people who do not know the extent and dangers of plastic pollution. Dr. Sate Sampattagul is a researcher and professor at Chiang Mai University in the faculty of engineering. “Many people don’t understand how bad the situation is that we are facing,” he said, and explains that his research evaluates environmental impacts. “Research alone can only do so much. We need someone to bridge research with government policy,” he suggested. “To make a project you need to push really hard to get it started,” he said.

The hope from all these groups is that the efforts of the few will be adopted by the many. Bringing about a cultural norm of caring for the environment over convenience in the moment may be the best way to evoke lasting change. As Pradorn maintained, “I mostly work with individuals. Saying I work with the government or with the municipality is too small. Actually, there is no power there. You want to connect with something deeper.”

Read the full article here.

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Have you done your part to #beatplasticpollution?

Categories: Green Tips
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Credit: Shutterstock

Did you know that 50% of the plastic we use is single-use or disposable? Or that nearly 40% of the plastic we use is used for packaging? On World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5, communities around the world showed their commitment to #beatplasticpollution. Organisations around the world announced new pledges.  Have you done your part to join the fight against plastic pollution?

Here are three simple tips and tricks to get you started:

  1. Refuse what you can´t reuse: No matter if someone is offering it to you, if you are running errands or you are consuming any goods and services, remember to refuse the plastic that you can’t reuse. Look and ask for a reusable option and if unavailable, simply refuse it. Check out these 8 alternatives to plastic wrap for a zero waste win.
  2. Calculate your plastic consumption and make a plan to reduce, refuse or reuse specific plastic items using this ready to use template. Browse books, blogs and other resources to help you reach your goal step-by-step.
  3. Do it yourself: Rather than relying on the industry to cut down plastic packaging or offering inexpensive eco-friendly alternatives, start making things your own. You will cut down plastic consumption and produce less waste in general. Here are 60 things you can start making yourself instead of buying – from skin and beauty products, household cleaners and necessities, food and condiments, to shoes and clothing. Pick one out of each category to get started.

Remember that at the end of the day, you are responsible and in charge of the choices you make. Opt for earth-friendly alternatives over plastic products for everyday living starting now to do your part to protect the environment.

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Credit: unknown on Travel Weekly

Heathrow plans to cut and recycle all single-use coffee cups collected from more 20 outlets and lounges as part of a longer-term ambition to phase out single-use plastics.

The airport estimates that its 78 million annual passengers use more than 13.5 million disposable coffee cups.

The London hub has set a target to standardise and recycle all single-use coffee cups by the end of the year and continue efforts to completely rid staff areas of these cups.

Read the full article here.

By Phil Davies

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Useless plastics provide a few minutes of convenience, little utility, and are disposed of in large quantities. / © WWF-Singapore

A supermarket plastic bag serves its real purpose for 30 minutes, the duration of a short commute. In a drink, a straw is utilised for just 5 minutes. The use of a plastic stirrer is even more short-lived: all of 10 seconds.

These items have fleeting lifespans, but they outlive us by a long shot — 400 years, to be exact.

Left in our environment, plastics affect ocean health and biodiversity. The problem does not simply end there.

Read the full article on ‘useless plastic’ and more here.

By Kim Stengert for Medium.

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Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles

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The breakthrough, spurred by the discovery of plastic-eating bugs at a Japanese dump, could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.

The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.

The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. “What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock,” said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research. “It’s great and a real finding.”

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian.

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