Revealing map shows the distribution of all known ocean trash

April 3, 2017 by  
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There’s still a lot the average person doesn’t know about the trash clogging up our oceans . Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) scientists are tackling this public awareness crisis with LITTERBASE , a tool that makes it easy for the public to visualize the issue. They pulled together results from 1,237 scientific studies on two revealing maps to show exactly where known marine litter is distributed, and how it affects 1,249 marine species. AWI scientists realized there’s a large amount of research being done on the issue of marine litter, but since there are so many studies it’s hard for policymakers, authorities, and the public to reference the information they need to combat the issue. So they gathered the research in LITTERBASE in two maps. One combines 591 publications to show the distribution of garbage around the world. The other draws on 751 publications to show wildlife interactions with litter . According to LITTERBASE information cited by The Maritime Executive, 34 percent of species ingest trash, 31 percent colonize it, and 30 percent get tangled up or trapped in trash. Related: New report says plastic trash to exceed fish in the sea by 2050 AWI scientists also found in 10 years the concentration of garbage at an Arctic Ocean deep-sea station increased 20-fold. Plastic and glass were the worst offenders. It’s difficult to determine where the plastic trash came from, as it can often travel great distances before landing on the ocean floor. The maps could also help bring older studies back into public awareness. AWI scientist Melanie Bergmann said, “While compiling LITTERBASE, I discovered a cache of old data on litter in the Antarctic , which the signatory countries of the Antarctic Treaty gathered on a regular basis. In addition, the ingestion of microplastic at the beginning of the food chain was investigated for various groups of plankton and unicellular organisms as far back as the 1980s. As such, LITTERBASE will also help us rediscover old and in some cases forgotten findings.” You might notice the map has large blank swaths; the researchers note those aren’t necessarily clean areas. Rather, they just don’t yet have information for those spaces. You can check out the map of marine litter here and the map of wildlife interactions with trash here . + LITTERBASE Via The Maritime Executive Images via screenshot and Wikimedia Commons

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Revealing map shows the distribution of all known ocean trash

If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers

February 7, 2017 by  
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If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors (or simply like to feel warm and cozy throughout the day), you’re probably a fan of synthetic fleece jackets. But what you might not know is that every time one of these items runs through the wash, it releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers into the water supply. These microfibers end up being eaten by fish and marine life – where they eventually end up back on our plates. A study last year from the University of California Santa Barbara , in collaboration with the clothing company Patagonia, shows that every time polyester fleece jackets are run through the wash without detergent, up to 2 grams of these fibers could be shed. It’s worse for top-load washing machines, which release seven times more fibers than the front-load variety. Unlike clothes dryers, which can capture loose fibers in lint traps, loose material in washing machines ends up simply being washed down the drain. Unfortunately, these microfibers are so small that wastewater treatment plants can’t filter them out. Instead, they end up being released into the environment, where they’re eaten by wildlife. Related:  Patagonia says synthetic fibers (including their own) are polluting the oceans Are these microscopic bits of plastic harmful when ingested? It’s not entirely clear. Some studies have show certain species can’t cope well with the microfibers: water fleas who inadvertently eat fleece fibers are more likely to die, and common crabs that have ingested the tiny bits of plastic eat less food overall. But further research is needed to show if humans who eat fleece-filled seafood suffer any ill effects. Unfortunately, short of avoiding fish altogether, it’s impossible to know whether you’re ingesting microfibers or not. For now, the only real solution is to either avoid washing your fleece when possible, or rig your washing machine with a filter to catch microfibers before they enter waterways. Sadly, that won’t do much unless everyone who wears synthetic fleece takes this advice to heart. Via NPR Images via Kelly and StockSnap  

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If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers

The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

December 31, 2016 by  
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Has there ever been a year in our lifetime that so many of us have been so eager to kiss good-bye? It seems like there wasn’t a single thing not touched by tragedy: music, art, fashion , (ahem) politics . Check out our roundup of the top 7 WTF moments of 2016 and tell us which was the worst of the worst.

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The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

December 31, 2016 by  
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Has there ever been a year in our lifetime that so many of us have been so eager to kiss good-bye? It seems like there wasn’t a single thing not touched by tragedy: music, art, fashion , (ahem) politics . Check out our roundup of the top 7 WTF moments of 2016 and tell us which was the worst of the worst.

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The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

7 articles that made us laugh this year

December 31, 2016 by  
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2016 took us to a dark, dark place, and we needed humor more than ever this year to get us through the seemingly endless barrage of pain. From an “Election cycle” bike that repeatedly slaps you in the face to the tiny wall that was erected around Donald Trump’s Hollywood star to the Kardashians’ hilariously sad architecture mixup , read on for the comedic stories that kept us from completely breaking down and throwing in the towel this year. And voice your choice in our end-of-year poll to let us know which one made you LOL the most! [poll id=115]

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7 articles that made us laugh this year

Patagonia says synthetic fibers (including their own) are polluting the oceans

July 2, 2016 by  
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Patagonia’s synthetic fleeces (along with fleeces from other manufacturers) are clogging up the oceans, poisoning the food chain and filling up landfills – and Patagonia is leading the charge to change things. Researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara found that polyester and nylon jackets, shed as many as 250,000 synthetic fibers every time you wash. And aywhere between 8 to 35 percent of this shedding ends up in waterways.

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Patagonia says synthetic fibers (including their own) are polluting the oceans

Endangered killer whale population faces a noisy new threat

December 21, 2015 by  
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Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) are already considered the rarest orca population in the world. Logging and fish farms threaten their food supply and organic pollutants contaminate the waters for this group, who are the only killer whales listed on the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s list of endangered species. Now researchers have found a new threat to the group: noise pollution . Everything from daily cargo ship traffic to intense naval operations inhibit the whales’ ability to communicate with one another through sound, which is how they find mates and sustain their lineage. While it may not seem that devastating, intense noise pollution can cause them to lose up to 97 percent of their communication abilities. Read the rest of Endangered killer whale population faces a noisy new threat

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Endangered killer whale population faces a noisy new threat

INFOGRAPHIC: How ocean pollution is harming your health

November 19, 2015 by  
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Did you know that 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine plants? While the deep blue sea may seem mysterious and even foreign, the oceans are fundamentally tied to our health and livelihoods. But pollution in those waters is threatening global health. Scuba Diving Magazine DIVE has created an infographic that explores the many ways oceans are important to humankind, the various causes of pollution, and how those problems can negatively affect us all. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: How ocean pollution is harming your health

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INFOGRAPHIC: How ocean pollution is harming your health

BIG unveils green-roofed master plan for Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill district

November 19, 2015 by  
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BIG unveils green-roofed master plan for Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill district

Dolphin’s are struggling to reproduce thanks to chemical pollution

July 29, 2015 by  
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Dolphins are having trouble reproducing according to a new study , and it’s because of industrial chemical pollution. Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCB’s, which can last in an animal ’s body for a lifetime because they are stored in fat, were commonly used in industrial equipment and paint over the past few decades. As the chemicals were released into waterways, they worked their way into dolphin’s bodies, and are now threatening future generations of harbor porpoises, since the chemicals can be passed down from the mother to offspring. Read the rest of Dolphin’s are struggling to reproduce thanks to chemical pollution

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Dolphin’s are struggling to reproduce thanks to chemical pollution

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