Scientists warn we are now entering the plastic age

September 6, 2019 by  
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A recent study reports plastic pollution has deposited itself into our fossil record. Water bottles, lunch bags and clothing laced with microfibers— welcome to what some are calling the “plastic age.” However, this didn’t occur overnight as contamination has been building since 1945. Related: Babylegs — the inexpensive, educational way to monitor ocean plastic pollution “Our love of plastic is being left behind in our fossil record ,” said lead researcher Jennifer Brandon at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. “We all learn in school about the stone age, the bronze age and iron age – is this going to be known as the plastic age?” she told The Guardian. “It is a scary thing that this is what our generations will be remembered for.” Experts think the findings could be used to calculate the onset of the Anthropocene, a proposed geological epoch said to be created by human actions taking over Mother Earth. The highly researched study shows the rise of plastic pollution in sediments and looked at yearly layers off California’s coast dating from 1834 and over the last 70 years. The plastic particles found were mostly fibers from synthetic fabrics indicating plastics move voluntarily on the ocean via wastewater. The journal Science Advances published the research and said microscopic plastics in the sediments has doubled about every 15 years since the 1940s. It’s not hard to see why as mass amounts of plastics are sent into the environment annually and broken down into small pieces, but fibers aren’t biodegradable. This could be worrisome as people consume at least 50,000 microplastic particles a year via food and water. While the impact on health is still a mystery — microplastics which are found everywhere from ocean floors to the tallest mountains — can release toxic substances and could penetrate tissues, experts said. Via The Guardian, Science Advances Image via Rey Perezoso

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Scientists warn we are now entering the plastic age

Hurricane Dorian causes onshore oil spill in Bahamas

September 6, 2019 by  
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Besides demolishing homes, uprooting wildlife and ravaging forests, Hurricane Dorian has also caused an onshore oil spill in the Bahamas. Norwegian energy company Equinor reported it discovered an oil spill at its storage and transshipment terminal. “Our initial aerial assessment of the South Riding Point facility has found that the terminal has sustained damage, and oil has been observed on the ground outside of the onshore tanks,” Equinor said. Related: Hurricane Dorian threatens endangered bird species Before Hurricane Dorian hit, Equinor said it closed all its operations at the South Riding Point terminal on Aug. 31, and no staff was on the premises. “It is too early to indicate any volumes,” the company said. “At this point there are no observations of any oil spill at sea.” Equinor’s terminal contains 6.75 million barrels of crude and condensate storage and provides heavy crude oil blending services. “While weather conditions on the island have improved, road conditions and flooding continue to impact our ability to assess the situation and the scope of damages to the terminal and its surroundings,” the company added. Weather forecasters reported Hurricane Dorian made landfall early Friday morning at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and is now a Category 1 hurricane. Hurricane warnings have been issued for Canada as the hurricane continues moving northeast, and the threat of storm surges in North Carolina and Virginia remains. At the time of writing, at least 30 people have been killed in the Bahamas , the health minister said. More deaths are expected to be announced. Via Reuters , NBC News and The Weather Channel Image via NOAA

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Hurricane Dorian causes onshore oil spill in Bahamas

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