The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 4, 2019 by  
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The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit dedicated to eliminating plastic pollution in the oceans, recently announced its first success. After years of trials that left its engineers scratching their heads over design challenges, the nonprofit’s newest prototype device has consistently collected plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . Following years of repeat returns to the drawing board, The Ocean Cleanup has finally experienced its first success of consistently capturing and collecting plastic, thanks to the self-contained System 001/B prototype. As an added bonus, not only was the prototype able to collect large, visible items but also microplastics as small as one millimeter. Related: Trash-collecting device returns to Great Pacific Garbage Patch “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage , which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights,” said founder and CEO Boyan Slat. “Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.” The patch, located in the waters between Hawaii and California, is infamous as the area with the largest accumulation of plastic debris. As a trash vortex, its circular motion draws litter into itself, trapping all the junk into a concentrated mass. The hazards are compounded by the leaching out of noxious chemicals linked to health problems. Marine life is also harmed, with numerous reports of disruptions in feeding and migrating patterns, ultimately threatening species’ survival and reproductive success. The need to remove the plastic waste polluting the Pacific Ocean inspired Slat to establish The Ocean Cleanup in 2012. The nonprofit’s engineers have since been striving to develop a device to rid the ocean of the garbage. The various device prototypes employ a passive system that moves with the currents while catching plastic refuse. The nonprofit aspires to develop more prototypes in hopes of deploying a future fleet of ocean debris-collecting systems. The collected plastic will, in turn, be recycled onshore and sold to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. The recycling revenue will be reinvested into the nonprofit’s expansion plans for further ocean waste management and sanitation. + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Nepalese volunteers clean 3 tons of trash from Mount Everest

May 10, 2019 by  
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Fourteen Nepalese volunteers collected three tons of garbage from Mount Everest in the first two weeks of their clean-up. The government-sponsored initiative is an effort to reduce growing amounts of garbage on the world’s tallest mountain. Nearly one-third of the garbage collected was taken by helicopter to recycling facilities in Kathmandu, while the remaining trash was sent to a landfill in the Okhaldhunga district. “The clean-up campaign will be continued in the coming seasons as well to make the world’s tallest mountain clean,” Dandu Raj Ghimire, Chief of the Nepalese Tourism Ministry, told Agence France-Presse. “It is our responsibility to keep our mountains clean.” Related: China closes Mount Everest base camp after overwhelming trash problem reports In 2013, the Nepali government implemented a deposit system , requiring every climbing team to bring back 18 pounds of trash per person or lose $4,000 USD. Even despite this expensive deposit, less than half of the hikers returned with garbage. In February, Chinese base camps in Tibet reportedly closed their doors to tourists, limiting visitor traffic to just climbers. In the last 65 years, 4,000 people summited Mount Everest, with 807 in 2018 alone. Thousands more hikers and tourists visit the base camps at the bottom of the famous mountain yearly. With climbing season kicking off around April, the problem of trash remains a rising concern on both the Chinese and Nepalese sides of the mountain. The rising temperatures is causing ice and snow to melt , revealing garbage that was previously hidden. Climbing guides and sherpas say the trash problem gets worse as you get closer to the 29,000-foot summit, likely because exhausted and oxygen-deprived climbers welcome the lighter load that comes with leaving things behind. Related: Mount Everest’s melting glaciers expose the bodies of long-lost climbers Under the melting snow , the volunteer clean-up crew has collected tents, climbing equipment, oxygen tanks, bottles, cans, human excrement and even four bodies of missing climbers. The crew hopes to collect at least 10 tons of garbage by the end of their six-week volunteer clean-up effort. Via Yale Environment 360 Images via Mike ( 1 , 2 )

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Nepalese volunteers clean 3 tons of trash from Mount Everest

Woman-Powered Ripple Effect Rows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

June 4, 2018 by  
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In June, the only all-women team in this year’s Great … The post Woman-Powered Ripple Effect Rows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Woman-Powered Ripple Effect Rows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant to supply 30% of Addis Ababa’s household electricity needs

February 22, 2018 by  
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Ethiopia ‘s capital Addis Ababa has had one landfill for around 50 years: the Koshe dump site. Serving over three million people, it’s about as large as 36 football pitches, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). A waste-to-energy plant, a first for Africa , could transform the site, burning around 1,400 tons of trash every day. Waste incineration is a popular energy source in Europe; there are 126 plants in France, 121 in Germany, and 40 in Italy, according to UNEP. But no plants have been constructed in Africa — until now. The Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project is designed to supply Ethiopia’s capital with around 30 percent of household power needs. To meet European standards, UNEP said Reppie “adopts modern back-end flue gas treatment technology to drastically reduce the release of heavy metals and dioxins produced from the burning .” Related: Dubai announces plans for world’s biggest waste-to-energy facility A BBC video posted this month said the waste-to-energy plant will generate three million bricks from waste ash, and 30 million liters of water will be recovered from the garbage. They said the plant will avert the release of 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide . Hundreds of jobs will also be generated, including for people who depended on scavenging at the dump. For cities lacking a large amount of land, UNEP described waste-to-energy incineration as a quadruple win: “it saves precious space, generates electricity, prevents the release of toxic chemicals into groundwater , and reduces the release of methane — a potent greenhouse gas generated in landfills — into the atmosphere.” The government of Ethiopia partnered with renewable energy and waste management company Cambridge Industries , state-owned engineering company China National Electric Engineering , and Danish engineering firm Ramboll to build the plant. UNEP said last November it was set to start operating in January, though it appears they’re not all the way there yet; that said, the BBC video reported the plant is connected to the national power grid . + Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project + United Nations Environment Program Via the BBC Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant to supply 30% of Addis Ababa’s household electricity needs

"Garbage emergency" declared in Bali as clean-up unfolds

December 28, 2017 by  
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The Indonesian island of Bali recently declared a “garbage emergency” in response to the overwhelming amount of plastic waste that has floated ashore and spoiled pristine beaches. “When I want to swim, it is not really nice. I see a lot of garbage here every day, every time,” said Vanessa Moonshine, a traveler from Australia told 24Matins . Although places in Indonesia have been described as “paradise on earth,” the nation of more than 17,000 islands has some work to do to reclaim its title and is mobilizing clean-up efforts to do so. Indonesia is the world’s second largest contributor to marine debris, outdone only by China , the most populous country in the world. In addition to degrading the beaches , plastic waste blocks waterways, impacting transportation and increasing flooding risk, while posing a risk to marine animals. The waste issue has become so debilitating that Bali officially declared a “garbage emergency” over a 3.7 mile segment of coastline last month, prompting the mobilization of resources. 700 cleaners with 35 trucks removed 100 tons of debris each day from the area, which includes the popular beaches of Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak. Related: Indonesia pledges $1 billion annually to tackle ocean pollution problem While economic concerns may have motivated this particular cleanup, the dangers of plastic waste are more insidious than loss of tourism. “Garbage is aesthetically disturbing to tourists, but plastic waste issue is way more serious,” I Gede Hendrawan, an environmental oceanography researcher from Bali’s Udayana University, told AFP . “Microplastics can contaminate fish which, if eaten by humans, could cause health problems including cancer.” Fortunately, Indonesia is taking action. The nation of 261 million has pledged to reduce marine plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025, in part by boosting recycling programs and reducing plastic bag usage. Local inventors have even created a type of biodegradable plastic made from seaweed , an abundant crop in Indonesia. Via 24Matins Images via Depositphotos (1)

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"Garbage emergency" declared in Bali as clean-up unfolds

We’ve made enough plastic trash to bury Manhattan under 2-miles of the stuff

July 21, 2017 by  
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Whether you get an iced latte to-go in the morning, your restaurant leftovers in a plastic takeaway container, or forget to take a reusable bags to the store, there are numerous ways  disposable plastic  adds up –   and that is a huge problem. According to the first global analysis of the production of plastics, humans now produce more plastic than anything else and, as a result, have created 8.3 billion tonnes of the stuff since the 1950s. If the trend continues, humans will eventually bury the planet in plastics, which require hundreds — if not thousands — of years to decompose. The study was published in Science Advances and unearthed some dizzying facts. For instance, around 79 percent of the plastic produced ends up in landfills, where it is simply buried and forgotten. Additionally, a large percentage of this waste goes into the oceans where it contaminates the environment , often times poisons or chokes wildlife, and breaks down into tiny pieces, which later collect in giant convergences such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . The study also found that only 9 percent of all plastics are recycled, and a further 12 percent are incinerated. “The only way to permanently eliminate plastic waste” is to burn or melt it down, the authors wrote . “Thus, near-permanent contamination of the natural environment with plastic waste is a growing concern.” For the study, the researchers looked at various kinds of plastics, from resin to fibers. They deduced that production has increased from around 2 million tonnes (2.2 m tons) a year in 1950 to an astonishing 400 million tonnes (440 m tons) in 2015. Plastic is now the most produced man-made material, with the exception of items such as steel and cement. However, unlike those two industrial materials which are put to use for decades, plastic is single-use, therefore, is most often discarded right away. The researchers make it clear that while it is not plausible to completely eliminate plastic from the modern world, production and use needs to decrease dramatically to benefit the ecosystem as a whole. “Most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so the plastic waste humans have generated could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years,” said Jenna Jambeck, who co-authored the study. “Our estimates underscore the need to think critically about the materials we use and our waste management practices.” The advice is spot-on, considering a recent paper found the micro plastics were present in every marine animal which was sampled in Australia — even those thought to be inaccessible. Related: Scotland bans plastic bags, spares landfill 650 million bags in just one year To reduce your dependence on plastic, you can buy whole, unprocessed foods and biodegradable soaps in bulk and keep them in mason jars at home, remember to take your reusable bags to the grocery store and farmer’s market and take advantage of thrift store offerings (or similar apps which connect you with second-hand goods) to reduce waste and needless packaging. Making this effort will help reduce the amount of plastic in the environment and, as a result, ensure a habitable environment exists for future generations. + Science Advances Via LA Times Images via Depositphotos and   Pixabay

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We’ve made enough plastic trash to bury Manhattan under 2-miles of the stuff

Japan’s experimental mission to clean up space junk ends in failure

February 7, 2017 by  
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An experimental effort to remove five decades worth of space junk orbiting Earth has met with failure due to technical problems. A Japanese team planned to use a 700-meter-long tether to coax floating debris to a lower orbit, where it would burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. But something went amiss and the tether couldn’t be extended – despite the best efforts of technicians who tried to fix it. According to the Guardian , more than 100 million pieces waste of various sizes, including cast-off equipment from old satellites and bits of rockets, are currently floating around the Earth. Experts say this garbage could pose risks for future space exploration, or even provoke armed conflict one day. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) developed a giant electrodynamic “tether” which they hoped could slow space refuse and bring it into a lower orbit – where they hoped it could later enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. The plan was to extend the 700-meter-long tether, made from steel and aluminum wires, from a cargo ship launched in December to bring astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. However all did not go according to plan – “We believe the tether did not get released,” leading researcher Koichi Inoue told The Guardian. “It is certainly disappointing that we ended the mission without completing one of the main objectives.” Related: Japan successfully orbits giant space junk collector The Guardian notes that JAXA has had some other disappointing results lately, including aborting a mission to use a mini-rocket to send a satellite into orbit a few weeks ago, and last year’s abandoned launch of a satellite designed to search for X-rays emanating from black holes and galaxy clusters. Via The Guardian Images via Jaxa and Wikimedia Commons

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Japan’s experimental mission to clean up space junk ends in failure

Seabin Project Aims To Reduce Ocean Pollution

August 4, 2016 by  
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Have you heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s a huge pile of garbage that’s located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – and it’s larger than the great state of Texas. Sadly, there are millions of tons of garbage that have collected into…

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Seabin Project Aims To Reduce Ocean Pollution

Plastic ‘tsunami’ trashes Hong Kong beaches

July 11, 2016 by  
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A deluge of garbage is overwhelming Hong Kong beaches. In what some refer to as a trash ‘ tsunami ,’ Hong Kong beaches have seen an estimated six to 10 times the usual amount of trash recently. And most of that garbage is plastic that won’t easily decompose. Trash washing up on beaches isn’t unheard of for Hong Kong, but this amount of trash is abnormal. Lantau Island’s Cheung Sha Beach and Hong Kong Island’s Stanley Beach have seen ” tens of thousands of tons ” of garbage washed ashore in areas where children typically play. Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department blames June flooding in China and monsoon winds. Councilor Paul Zimmerman said the trash washed in from illegal and legal dumps in Hong Kong and China. Related: How two amazing teenage girls convinced Bali to ban plastic bags Many think the trash is coming from China as well as Hong Kong because of the trash packaging and labels. Sea Shepherd Hong Kong , a conservation group, points to a dump on the island of Wai Ling Ding. Just south of Hong Kong, the island is administrated by China and home to a dump which Sea Shepherd director Gary Stokes described as a “glacier of trash” that could be flowing downhill into the ocean . An Environmental Protection Department April 2015 report claims Hong Kong ocean trash ” does not constitute a serious problem .” But Coastal Watch , a World Wildlife Fund project, said up to 15,000 metric tons of ocean trash are gathered yearly in Hong Kong. One local described the current issue as ” effectively a solidified ‘oil spill’ of trash/plastic .” One Green Planet writes, “8.8 million tons of plastic” end up in our oceans every year. That trash poses a threat to marine creatures and pollutes the environment, and likely won’t break down for about 1,000 years. Via One Green Planet and CNN Images via Ocean Recovery Alliance Facebook

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Plastic ‘tsunami’ trashes Hong Kong beaches

Microplastics are killing fish faster than they can reproduce

June 8, 2016 by  
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There are 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating around in the Earth’s oceans, many of which are microplastics no larger than 5 mm large. These tiny particles are being gobbled up by fish and killing them faster than they can reproduce . A new study found that consuming the plastic pieces also slows fish down and interferes with their natural abilities to sense oncoming predators. The study , published in Science , observed perch larvae and their eating habits. When in the presence of microplastics, such as microbeads , the little guys actually preferred eating these harmful morsels over their usual meals of plankton. Ingesting the plastics slowed down development and interfered with the chemical signals the fish rely upon to sense when deadly predators are near. When pike were introduced into habitats where perch had been munching on microplastics, the perch were four times more likely to be eaten than those in a more natural environment. Related: Sea turtles face growing danger due to plastic trash in Australian waters Not only does ingesting plastic impede digestive systems with the fish, as well as with seabirds and other creatures, it seems there are longer-lasting effects on how the fish behave. All of these effects combined lead to increased mortality rates. In fact, all of the fish exposed to microplastics in the study were dead within 48 hours. Oona Lönnstedt, one of the study’s authors, told The Guardian , “If early life-history stages of other species are similarly affected by microplastics, and this translates to increased mortality rates, the effects on aquatic ecosystems could be profound.” Via  The Guardian Images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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