pollution   9224

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Plastic straws aren’t the problem • Bloomberg
Adam Minter:
<p>The anti-straw movement took off in 2015, after a video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nose went viral. Campaigns soon followed, with activists often citing studies of the growing ocean plastics problem. Intense media interest in the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch - a floating, France-sized gyre of oceanic plastic - only heightened the concern.

But this well-intentioned campaign assumes that single-use plastics, such as straws and coffee stirrers, have much to do with ocean pollution. And that assumption is based on some highly dubious data. Activists and news media often claim that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day, for example, which sounds awful. But the source of this figure turns out to be a survey conducted by a nine-year-old. Similarly, two Australian scientists estimate that there are up to 8.3 billion plastic straws scattered on global coastlines. Yet even if all those straws were suddenly washed into the sea, they'd account for about .03% of the 8 million metric tons of plastics estimated to enter the oceans in a given year.

In other words, skipping a plastic straw in your next Bahama Mama may feel conscientious, but it won't make a dent in the garbage patch. So what will?

A recent survey by scientists affiliated with Ocean Cleanup, a group developing technologies to reduce ocean plastic, offers one answer. Using surface samples and aerial surveys, the group determined that at least 46% of the plastic in the garbage patch by weight comes from a single product: fishing nets. Other fishing gear makes up a good chunk of the rest.</p>

OK, but .03% of 8m is 2,400 tonnes, which is a lot of plastic. As the article also makes clear, there are market mechanisms to identify abandoned nets, but they're poorly implemented. That can be fixed too. Everyone wins, including the sea creatures.
Pollution  sea  plastic 
7 hours ago by charlesarthur
More Recycling Won't Solve Plastic Pollution - Scientific American Blog Network
Effectively, we have accepted individual responsibility for a problem we have little control over. We can swim against this plastic stream with all our might and fail to make much headway. At some point we need to address the source.
plastic  environment  recycling  pollution 
3 days ago by madamim
‘Nothing to worry about. The water is fine’: how Flint poisoned its people | News | The Guardian
n a hot day in the summer of 2014, in the Civic Park neighbourhood where Pastor R Sherman McCathern preached in Flint, Michigan, water rushed out of a couple of fire hydrants. Puddles formed on the dry grass and splashed the skin of the delighted kids who ran through it. But the spray looked strange. “The water was coming out dark as coffee for hours,” McCathern remembered. The shock of it caught in his throat. “Something is wrong here.”
setting  longformeg  flint  pollution  environment 
4 days ago by paulbradshaw
How does plastic get in the ocean? 5 questions we need to answer to fix plastic pollution - Vox | https://www.vox.com/
In other words, making environmentalism a social norm is one of the best ways to get people to be more aware of their behavior. Using the plastic straw ban as an example, he explained, “if everybody else in the restaurant is using them, and the context condones their use (e.g. straws on tables or put into drinks when served), then this increases the likelihood that an individual will act in accordance.”
oceans  pollution  plastic  pacificgarbagepatch  recycling  society  change 
8 days ago by kme
'I don’t want ships to kill me': Marseille fights cruise liner pollution | World news | The Guardian
Shipping pollution, including industrial shipping, is estimated to account for up to 10% of the city’s air pollution problem. The culprits include the large number of ferries transporting cars and passengers to Corsica and north African countries including Morocco and Algeria.
pollution  airpollution  marine 
8 days ago by juliusbeezer
Illegal levels of air pollution linked to child's death - BBC News
A nine-year-old girl's fatal asthma attack has been linked to illegally high levels of air pollution.

Ella Kissi-Debrah lived 25m (80ft) from London's South Circular Road - a notorious pollution "hotspot".

She experienced three years of seizures and hospital stays before her death in February 2013. During that time, local air pollution levels breached EU legal limits.
UK  public  health  prevention  pollution 
11 days ago by asterisk2a

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