New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

April 20, 2017 by  
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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t the only place where plastic pollution is gathering in the world’s oceans . An international team of scientists from 12 institutions in eight countries recently discovered a new garbage patch in the Greenland and Barents seas north of Norway. Between 100 and 1,200 tons of plastic have concentrated there, threatening wildlife already grappling with climate change . The Tara Expeditions Foundation dragged for plastic in the Arctic Ocean to find the new Arctic garbage patch. They visited 42 sites, and found over a third of the locations didn’t have any plastic. But then they found plastic amassing in Arctic waters above Norway. The garbage patch is smaller than the Pacific or Mediterranean garbage patches, but researchers hadn’t anticipated finding so much trash in that part of the Arctic, previously considered to be quite pristine. Related: World’s first ocean trash recon mission is complete – and the results are way worse than we thought Andrés Cózar of the University of Cádiz in Spain told The Verge, “We did not expect to find high concentrations of plastic there, so far from the populated regions and the large sources of plastic pollution.” He’s the lead author on a study published online yesterday in the journal Science Advances . So where’s all the trash coming from? Europe and America’s East Coast are likely at fault. Study co-author Erik van Sebille, who during the research was with Imperial College London and now works for the Netherlands’ Utrecht University , told The Verge, “If a plastic bottle or a plastic bag gets into the Atlantic from Europe or the East Coast of the U.S., that has a very good chance of ending up in the Arctic. The problem with plastic specifically being in the Arctic is that it’s going to get into the food chain of animals that are very much under threat already, that are struggling to survive in a changing climate.” Via The Verge Images © Anna Deniaud/Tara Expeditions Foundation

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New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

Yoga pants, fleece jackets and the microplastics dilemma

March 28, 2017 by  
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No clothing brand intended for their synthetic products to be discharged into the environment in the former of tiny bits of plastic. Now that they know, they must step up and tackle the problem.

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Yoga pants, fleece jackets and the microplastics dilemma

9 VR videos that dive deep into water issues

March 24, 2017 by  
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Immersive experiences bring people face-to-face with our impact on marine ecosystems.

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9 VR videos that dive deep into water issues

Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup takes to the air to count plastic trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 3, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IjaZ2g-21E The concept behind the Ocean Cleanup Array is so simple that many have criticized the device as being “too good to be true,” especially given the project’s $2.2 million price tag. However, the results of a year-long feasibility study and a test run in the North Sea this summer prove the contraption works. Slat aims, though, to clean up 42 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch’s plastic pollution in the next 10 years, and that goal will likely take much more than the initial crowdfunded budget. Critics say the cost is higher than the reward, but they might change their minds when they find out how big the problem really is. Related: Boyan Slat’s Great Pacific Garbage Patch expedition shows the plastic problem is “even bigger than we thought” A bird’s eye view of ocean trash The controversy exists in part because nobody really knows how much plastic trash is floating in the ocean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) first reported on the existence of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 1988 but due to its size and location, it has been difficult to assess just how much trash is caught up in the vortex. Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Project is attempting to find out, by deploying two low-speed, low-altitude reconnaissance flights from Moffett Airfield in its modified C-130 Hercules aircraft (named “Ocean Force One”) outfitted with high-tech sensors and expert spotters. The main drive behind the aerial survey is to identify and count the ghost nets, which have been deemed one of the biggest threats to marine animals . Today, Slat shared the initial findings of the first aerial survey, which took place yesterday along the northern edge of the Garbage Patch. Flight one successfully completed! Initial results will be shared at press conference Monday 11am PT. We’ll be broadcasting live here on Facebook. Posted by The Ocean Cleanup on Sunday, October 2, 2016 Slat spent some time explaining the technology used to assess the Garbage Patch. “One of [the reasons we’re using such a large aircraft] is the size of our crew… Really the only way to get there is to have an aircraft with a very large range. Even with this aircraft, we had to install two additional large fuel tanks to get the range that we needed to get all the way to the Garbage Patch,” said Slat about the 1,000-mile trip to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He went on to explain that the aircraft was outfitted with “experimental sensors” being used for the first time to detect plastic in the ocean. Human observers were also on board to keep notes of their observations to aid in the expedition’s goal. They also used lidar technology (like radar, but using light) to get 3D images of objects under the surface of the water. What kind of trash is in the ocean? While it’s widely known that massive amounts of plastic trash have evaded the waste collection process and found their way into open waters, not all of the debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made of plastic. Ghost nets are one key exception, and they wind up floating in the ocean when fishing boats leave them behind after they become entangled on a reef, rocky sea floor, or other debris. It’s not difficult to imagine how marine creatures can become trapped in these nearly invisible nets, unable to free themselves, since that is precisely the purpose of a fishing net. Although these nets are a major threat, much of the rest of the debris found in the Garbage Patch is small, confetti-like pieces of plastic and other materials that have been broken down over time, simultaneously making it easier for marine creatures to ingest them and making it more difficult to catch them with a cleanup net. Aerial Expedition – Ocean Force One Tour Take a tour aboard the Ocean Force One, which is set to map the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this weekend. Posted by The Ocean Cleanup on Thursday, September 29, 2016 Inhabitat had the chance to speak with Boyan Slat about the project. Based on what you are seeing so far, how are you feeling about the prospect of cleaning this up? “Sometimes there is a lot of talk about this just stuff being just small pieces or there not being a garbage patch, I think it is just sort of very hard to deny when you look at it out of the door of an aircraft and you just see this stuff everywhere…There is a lot of stuff out there, it is certainly more than we thought. As time goes by we actually start to start to feel more and more confident that we will be able to clean it up.” Slat estimates that 100km of array could clean up 50% of the patch, but the team is working on improving that. “We’re really trying to optimize the design, to make it higher. We’re always asking the question how can we make it more efficient, how can we make it faster, how can we make it cheaper.” Related: World’s first Ocean Cleanup Array will start removing plastic from the seas in 2016 When will the Ocean Cleanup Array tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Despite ongoing criticisms, Slat remains confident that his Ocean Cleanup Array is an effective solution to one of the biggest environmental disasters on the globe, and his team is looking forward to a full deployment in the Pacific Ocean by 2020. In the meantime, a series of expeditions are being conducted to measure the size and scope of the Garbage Patch in order to plan cleanup efforts. A ‘Mega Expedition’ of 30 vessels ventured across the center of the Garbage Patch in the summer of 2015 and worked to create the first high-resolution map of the trash vortex. The ongoing Aerial Expedition will cover some 2,316 square miles, an area 300 times the size of last year’s research mission. A Pacific Pilot test program is slated for the second half of 2017, inching closer to the 2020 launch date. You can watch the entire press conference here: NOW LIVE: Aerial Expedition press conference Posted by The Ocean Cleanup on Monday, October 3, 2016   + The Ocean Cleanup Project + Boyan Slat Images via NOAA News ,  The Ocean Cleanup Project , and  NOAA Marine Debris  

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Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup takes to the air to count plastic trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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

Biodegradable plastics are the ‘enemy of the environment,’ says UN scientist

May 25, 2016 by  
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To combat the massive problem of plastic debris in the world’s oceans, manufacturers developed lightweight plastic products that are supposed to break down rapidly, thus reducing hazards to marine animals. The so-called ‘biodegradable plastics’ aren’t the answer, according to the United Nations’ top environmental scientist, because they don’t behave as promised. Instead, the ‘greener’ plastics contribute to the problem of ocean plastic just as much as other varieties. Previous…

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Biodegradable plastics are the ‘enemy of the environment,’ says UN scientist

A brewery in Florida is saving sea turtles with an edible six-pack ring

May 19, 2016 by  
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We’ve all seen those heartbreaking images of marine animals strangled in the plastic rings that hold together six beverage cans, commonly used for beer and soda. One brewery in Florida is taking on this terrible environmental problem by creating “edible six-pack rings” which sea turtles can happily chomp on rather than risking injury or death. Saltwater Brewery , based in Delray Beach, released a promotional video last week for the ingenious packaging alternative, and it’s gotten tens of millions of views so far. It’s safe to say that people are excited about getting the edible six-pack rings mass into production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YG9gUJMGyw It’s impossible to know for certain how many birds and sea creatures suffer when plastic six-pack rings are thoughtlessly discarded , but estimates put the numbers in the millions. When the public first became aware that the rings were strangling animals, many people began cutting the rings into bits before throwing them out, but that doesn’t stop birds and sea turtles from eating them anyway, which causes all manner of digestive problems. An edible plastic, made from a combination of barley and wheat byproducts of the brewing process, seems like a smart solution. Related: Green sea turtles are no longer endangered in Florida and Mexico Saltwater Brewery has been operating since late 2013 and has worked quickly to connect with local sea lovers, like surfers and fishermen. The company kicks back a portion of their profits to charities working to conserve our oceans and the creatures who call it home, including CCA, Surfrider, Ocean Foundation, and MOTE. Creating the 100-percent biodegradable , edible six-pack rings was the natural next step in the brewery’s sustainability mission, and the new rings have met with resounding approval in local trials. Craft brewers in other parts of the country are already asking to use the edible rings for their own beers. The brewers at Saltwater partnered with We Believers , an advertising agency specializing in products that improve the world, to develop and create the six-pack rings. Now, the team hopes to ramp up production and distribute the edible packaging far and wide, so the turtle-friendly rings can help save birds, turtles, and other wild creatures who are just looking for a snack. Via Good Images via Saltwater Brewery

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A brewery in Florida is saving sea turtles with an edible six-pack ring

Mobile residence for writers to meander the border of England’s former Roman Empire

May 19, 2016 by  
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Called ‘The Mansio’, the house will function as a temporary residence for writers, as well as a venue for different events during a six-month-long journey that forms part of the Hexham Book Festival and Arts&Heritage. The project was conceived as an exploration of concepts of borders, with a specific reference to the ancient Roman empire. “The rich history of Hadrian’s Wall and its peoples provide a creative foundation for the authors involved in The Mansio project, writing new responses to the ever-present issue of borders and colonisation and the unique history of this ancient Roman landscape,” said director of Hexham Book Festival Susie Troup. Related: Solar-Powered ‘Self Sustained Module’ Goes Where No Other Building Can Go The Mansio began its journey in South Shields earlier this month, and will continue to travel along Hadrian’s Wall. During the next few months it will visit the Roman forts of Arbeia, Birdoswald, Senhouse and Carlisle Castle. + Matthew Butcher + Owain Williams + Kieran Thomas Wardle Via Dezeen Photography is by Brotherton/Lock

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Mobile residence for writers to meander the border of England’s former Roman Empire

Ocean Cleanup Array to be tested in the North Sea next year

December 31, 2015 by  
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The inaugural test of the Ocean Cleanup Array is finally nigh. A trash-collecting dam that allows the ocean’s currents to bring surrounding debris to one central point, the OCA is slated begin its work in the second quarter of 2016 in the North Sea, just a few miles from the coast of the Netherlands and the company’s headquarters in Delft. The team behind the design will study the results of the test before giving the green light for the system’s debut in the waters between Japan and South Korea later in 2016. Read the rest of Ocean Cleanup Array to be tested in the North Sea next year

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Ocean Cleanup Array to be tested in the North Sea next year

Studio Swine turns ocean pollution into a beautiful whale tooth replica

November 18, 2015 by  
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Studio Swine recently went on a 1,000-nautical-mile adventure called Gyrecraft , described as an “exploration into maritime crafts” that harvests sea plastic extracted from the North Atlantic Gyre. The design team collected ocean plastic pollution all the way from Azores to the Canaries. The collected plastic was then melted using their solar-powered Solar Extruder machine and then reshaped to create a replica of a whale tooth. + Studio Swine Gyrecraft The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Studio Swine turns ocean pollution into a beautiful whale tooth replica

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