Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution.
"Corals are non-selective feeders and our results show that they can consume microplastics when the plastics are present in seawater," says Dr Mia Hoogenboom, a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.
"If microplastic pollution increases on the Great Barrier Reef, corals could be negatively affected as their tiny stomach-cavities become full of indigestible plastic," Dr Hoogenboom says.
A landmark study, published in the journal Science on Thursday 13 February, reveals just how much plastic makes its way in the world's oceans and the top countries responsible for the ocean-bound trash.
About 8 million tons of plastic waste wound up in the world's oceans in 2010, and researchers warn that the cumulative amount could increase more than tenfold in the next decade unless the international community improves its waste management practices.
A drinks container deposit scheme is to be introduced in NSW within the next few weeks as part of a plan to clean up the state's beaches and parks.
The details of the cash for containers scheme are still being finalised but it is likely to feature a rebate of 10 cents per item.
The NSW Government has been negotiating with the drinks industry to introduce the system and Environment Minister Rob Stokes said similar initiatives had proved highly successful in reducing waste in public spaces around the world.
Tiny particles found in sea-floor sediment point to partial solution to 'missing plastic' problem.
Billions of tiny plastic fragments are littering each square kilometre of the deep sea, an analysis of sea-floor sediments suggests.
Although the study sampled a small number of sites, the locations ranged from the subpolar Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, enabling researchers to design future studies that could determine where much of the plastic manufactured by humans ends up.
It is no secret that the world’s oceans are swimming with plastic debris – the first floating masses of trash were discovered in the 1990s. But researchers are starting to get a better sense of the size and scope of the problem.
A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One estimates that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, large and small, weighing 269,000 tons, can be found throughout the world’s oceans, even in the most remote reaches.
Last summer, a team of volunteer scuba divers descended upon the picturesque National Trust owned Lansallos Beach, near Looe in Cornwall UK for a challenging conservation event: a "Dive Against Debris" or in other words an underwater cleanup survey.