A blog set out to explore, archive & relate plastic pollution happening world-wide, while learning about on-going efforts and solutions to help break free of our addiction to single-use plastics & sharing this awareness with a community of clean water lovers everywhere!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Microplastics: What is in your water?

Published by On The River Nov. 17, 2015

On The River is a 3,500 mile, 13-state education-linked, canoe adventure. In July 2015, our route started on the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park, MT and headed east, down smaller creeks and rivers to the Missouri River. We will continue down the Missouri River to the Mississippi River and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.  Be part of the adventure by tracking our progress, reading our blog posts, or getting involved.

Along our route the On The River team will connect with schools through classroom visits,  curriculum integration including On The River videos, and river visits to use real-world experiences to engage, inspire, and educate young people along the river. Educators can learn more about our programs and sign-up to begin planning.

Canoers experience first hand the threats to our rivers. On The River tells the story of the river to raise awareness, foster respect, and inspire creative solutions. As part of our commitment to conservation, On The River is collecting water samples to be analyzed by Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, as part of a worldwide study on the extent of microplastic pollution in our water.

During our trip we have teamed up with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (http://www.adventurescience.org/microplastics) to collect samples of water to be tested for microplastics. This week on the river we learn what microplastics are and how we study them.
Grades: 4-8
  • MS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
Supplemental Work:
  • Look at the map at www.adventurescience.org/microplastics and see if a sample has been taken near your home. Did it have plastic? What does that mean to you?
  • Organize a trash pick-up. Share with your community how you helped and why it is important.
  • Write a protocol and see if others can follow it.

About Microplastics

Microplastics—or plastic particles smaller than five millimeters in size--likely pose a massive environmental and human health risk when they enter our waterways.

Toxins including DDT and BPA adhere to the particles, and then enter the food chain when ingested by aquatic life, accumulating in birds, fish, marine mammals and potentially humans.

Microplastics have several sources: They're laundered from nylon clothing; they wash down the drain with many cosmetics and toothpastes; and they weather from debris like bottles and bags.

ASC's microplastics scientist has found microplastics in the vast majority of marine samples we've collected, from places including Maine, Alaska, Argentina, Thailand and Antarctica. We expanded our research to fresh water in early 2015 to further identify the inputs of this pollution.

Our goal is to compile a comprehensive microplastics dataset and use that information to effect change, turning off the inputs of microplastics pollution at their source. 
Join us.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Indigenous Community Protects the Environment While Learning About 3D Printing

Published in 3D Print by Clare Scott · November 6, 2015

In the central North Pacific Ocean, there is a giant floating patch of garbage known, appropriately, as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Mostly comprised of plastic waste, it was formed, scientists believe, by ocean currents that gradually pulled discarded garbage into a floating clump.

The mass of garbage has had a tragic effect on ocean wildlife, and has affected humans as well, who ingest the plastic chemicals when they eat fish that have swallowed bits of plastic. The only solution to this problem is simply to stop throwing away so much plastic, which unfortunately is much easier said than done.

One thing that 3D printing has provided is an excellent means for recycling plastic, and 3D printing companies such as Fila-Cycle are making great strides towards reducing waste as much as possible by turning plastic waste into filament. But it’s not just corporations that are capable of transforming trash into printing materials.


The island of Milingimbi sits off the coast of Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory. It is home to the indigenous Yolngu community, the members of which have just learned about 3D printing. Lisa Somerville, project coordinator for the Arnhem Land Progress Association, came up with an initiative earlier this year to simultaneously clean up the island’s trash, teach children about technology, and give them a reason to be excited about learning.
“We wanted to create an incentive for kids who go to school 100 per cent of the time and build on that,” Somerville said.
recycleThe program, which the community has dubbed “Plastic Fantastic,” has engaged the whole community, not just the children. Leandra Dhurrkay and Jason Wandji, Milingimbi school officers, have been working with students, council workers, and other community members to collect the numerous pieces of plastic waste lying around the island. While gathering the material, the participants learn about recycling and the various types of recyclable plastic.
“There is lots of plastic around the community,” Dhurrkhay said. “At every camp and in every street there are plastic bottles lying around. It is good that we are using all that.”
The plastic is then shredded, melted, and extruded into filament, which is then used in the school’s 3D printer. Students learn about 3D printing and digital design while making sunglasses, iPhone holders, and small plastic toys. According to Somerville, the children have been having a great time with the program. One of the major goals was to give the kids an incentive to want to go to school, which has, so far, been a success.  It has been educational for the adults, as well.
“I have just learned a little bit about using the computer and 3D program. This is the first time I have used computers,” said Wandji. “It’s good for elders to sit with children, care for them, and teach them this way.”
Just a few weeks ago, Project Plastic Fantastic was presented the Environmental Innovation Award for turning plastic rubbish into 3D printed toys.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

There are probably tiny pieces of plastic in your table salt

Table salt
Your table salt could contain plastic Credit: Alamy
First they came for bacon, then we were warned wild salmon might not be what you think it is, and now new research has revealed there are, most likely, tiny pieces of plastic littering your table salt.
The research, published in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, found that supermarket salt contains tiny plastic particles, likely from ocean pollution.

Researchers from East China Normal University found micro-sized particles of water bottle plastic, cellophane and a wide variety of other plastics in the 15 brands of salt they tested.
Sea salt
Sea salt can contain up to 1,200 pieces of plastic per pound of salt Credit: Alamy
They found sea salt contained the most plastic, with up to 1,200 pieces found per pound of salt, while lake salts had around 800 particles and rock salt from wells contained up to 450 pieces.

The researchers stressed that most plastic pieces were so small you wouldn't realise they were there. However, in some cases the plastic was large enough to be seen by the naked eye.

They added that people who adhere to the recommended daily intake of salt would end up eating around three pieces of plastic a day.

Though the salt samples were all Chinese, lead researcher Huahong Shi told Scientific American: "Plastics have become such an ubiquitous contaminant, I doubt it matters whether you look for plastic in sea salt on Chinese or American supermarket shelves."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Plastic trash found floating in far Arctic waters

Bremerhaven, Germany (dpa) - An international research team has found that plastic trash littering the world's oceans is now even floating in Arctic waters.

The marine trash survey, by Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and Belgium’s Laboratory for Polar Ecology, was one of the first conducted north of the Arctic Circle.

In July 2012 a research team led by AWI biologist Melanie Bergmann looked for floating trash in the Fram Strait, between eastern Greenland and Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, from the German polar research vessel Polarstern and by helicopter.

A total of 31 pieces of trash were spotted over a distance of 5,600kilometres. Bergmann noted, however, that the team could only make out the larger pieces, "therefore our numbers are probably an underestimate.

"Results of the survey were published on the online portal of the Switzerland-based scientific journal Polar Biology. In a previous study, Bergmann concluded that the density of plastic, glass and other types of litter on the Fram Strait seabed was 10 to 100 times higher than at the surface - and increasing.

Although it’s unclear how the floating trash made it so far north, Bergmann said it might have come from a trash vortex forming in the Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia, which is thought to be fed by the densely populated coastal regions of Northern Europe.

Trash vortices form when floating pieces of plastic are caught up in large, circling ocean currents and then pulled toward the centre.

Besides the one in the Barents Sea, the AWI said, there are five other known marine trash vortices around the world.

Another possible cause of the Arctic trash is receding Arctic sea ice due to global warming, allowing fishing trawlers and cruise liners to operate - and leave litter - farther north.

The researchers said the floating trash posed a threat particularly to seabirds, which feed on surface prey. Plastic has already been found in the stomachs of indigenous seabirds and Greenland sharks.

Puerto Rico to ban plastic bags through executive order

Published in the AP By DANICA COTO - Oct. 30, 2015

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's governor signed an executive order Friday banning the use of plastic bags across the U.S. territory, defying legislators who just days ago rejected a similar bill.

The ban will take effect in mid-2016 and will be preceded by a six-month educational campaign, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said.

The announcement surprised many because 25 legislators in the island's House of Representatives recently voted against a measure calling for such a ban. Lawmakers had said they opposed the bill because it would charge people for the use of plastic bags amid an economic crisis.

Garcia said grocery stores across Puerto Rico import tons of plastic bags a year, noting that one small supermarket chain alone annually imports bags that fit in six boxcars that are 42 feet (13 meters) long.

"All that ends up in landfills in the best-case scenario," he said. "They end up on our streets, in our sewage system ... and kill our turtles and coral reefs."

The popular western tourist town of Rincon is the only Puerto Rican municipality that currently bans the use of plastic bags.

Environmental activists praised the move, noting that it is common to double-bag all groceries on the island, no matter how small the purchase. Garcia said he would push for legislation to be approved to help bolster his executive order.

Rep. Carlos Vargas, a member of Garcia's party whose vote helped defeat the initial bill, said he supports the idea of having an educational campaign and will seek to have the funds generated by penalties destined for environmental projects.

Elsewhere in the U.S., plastic bag bans have been implemented in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Austin, Texas. In addition, all counties in Hawaii have approved such a prohibition. There is currently no statewide ban on plastic bags, although California is placing the issue before voters in a November 2016 ballot.

Underwater Marine Design Concept for Collecting Plastic Waste in the Ocean

Published Nov. 1, 2015 in Virtual Strategy.com
Internet Marketing Expert Chad Ian Lieberman Breaks Down The ROI on Plastic Garbage.

"Urgent action is required to prevent the choking of our oceans by plastics." These words were from Chad Lieberman of 6WSEO in a recent training he held on an underwater marine design concept for collecting plastic waste in the ocean.

Chad Ian Lieberman was talking about an underwater marine drone that autonomously swallows plastic garbage floating in the ocean floor. It works by containing the garbage in nets suspended between buoys. These buoys balance the weight.

The drone seeks and destroys plastic. The net captures everything from entire plastic bottles to tiny plastic shards. The drone is an autonomous electric vehicle that transmits an annoying sonic transmission to discourage sea creatures from entering the net. The sonic transmitters are also used to communicate with the base station and with other drones through sonar.

It is estimated that there are currently about 500 million kilograms of plastic waste currently floating in the floor of our oceans. So, why is it important to get rid of plastic from the ocean floor? According to Chad Lieberman, "The plastic collected from the ocean floor stands to profit plastic recyclers greatly." Millions of pieces of plastic waste accumulate in areas where currents converge because of water movement, posing an ecological nightmare in these areas.

The plastic waste not only leads to the death of fish but also of coral reefs as well as other marine life. Plastic waste is also unsightly, leading to the destruction of would-be tourist destinations. Chad stated that, "This drone is advantageous over previously used methods because it is cheaper and it does not cause damage to wildlife."

Once the drone's batteries are about to drain, it returns to the ocean base and human crews haul it up and empty the content for recycling. Chad Ian Lieberman stated that, "This may just be a concept, but there is no reason the drone should not go into mass production with the interest it has generated."

About 6WSEO
Chad Lieberman is the founder and lead at 6WSEO. This New York-based company is among the top 100 SEO agencies in the world. It offers comprehensive and customized search engine marketing solutions to clients in the U.S., Canada, UK, and France, among others. Services on offer range from search engine optimization to online reputation management and from affiliate marketing to pay-per-click management. You can learn more on 6WSEO from http://www.6WSEO.com/blog.

Read more at http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2015/11/01/chad-lieberman-6w-negotiations-about-underwater-marine-design-concept-collecting-plastic-#axzz3qM2rdENj#MJqk8JppE0vMrMCW.99


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