Applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows could transform the plastics economy and drastically reduce negative externalities such as leakage into oceans, according to the latest report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytical support from McKinsey & Company.
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.
Many subalpine lakes may look beautiful and even pristine, but new evidence suggests they may also be contaminated with potentially hazardous plastics. Researchers say those tiny microplastics are likely finding their way into the food web through a wide range of freshwater invertebrates too.
The findings, based on studies of Italy's Lake Garda and reported on October 7th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, suggest that the problem of plastic pollution isn't limited to the ocean.
Scientists have discovered a diverse multitude of microbes colonizing and thriving on flecks of plastic that have polluted the oceans—a vast new human-made flotilla of microbial communities that they have dubbed the "plastisphere."
Less than half of the 280 million metric tons of plastic produced each year ends up in the landfill. A fair bit of the rest ends up littering the landscape, blown by the wind or washed down streams and rivers into the sea.
So far Americans spend $520 million a year to clean up plastic litter washing up on beaches and shorelines. Efforts to clean up the oceans' enormous swirling gyres of garbage has an incalculable cost. Thus, much of the focus has been on how to stop the river of trash from entering the ocean.
A 70,000 mile expedition by a tiny research ship gives us a snapshot of life in the depths of the world's seas.
Up to one million new species of microscopic sea life have been observed for the first time, promising new revelations about the marine ecosystem that could revolutionise our understanding of climate change's impact on the world's oceans.
Each new life form was discovered by the crew of just one small research vessel, the Tara, which has recently completed a two-and-a-half year, 70,000 mile expedition.
Sharp increase of small plastic debris in the 'Garbage Patch' could have ecosystem-wide consequences.
A 100-fold upsurge in human-produced plastic garbage in the ocean is altering habitats in the marine environment, according to a new study led by a graduate student researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.