33 posts categorized "Plastic in Our Oceans"

April 01, 2011

Hawaii-sized Recycled Island to be Built from Ocean Garbage Patch

Mother Nature Network 4.1.11

PatchDutch architect Ramon Knoester has an ambitious design that will turn the 7 billion pounds of plastic trash swirling in the Pacific Ocean into the world's most eco-friendly society. That's right. He wants to create a 100 percent sustainable floating island for interested inhabitants. The island made from collected debris will bob somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. And although the idea may seem unthinkable, Koester's firm, WHIM architecture, is already in the process of designing a prototype for the fittingly named "Recycled Island," reports Discovery News.

Check out the project's website for more information about Recycled Island, or learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch here

Click here to read the full article.

Image: Ingrid Taylar/ Flickr

March 30, 2011

Turtle Found that Pooped Plastic for a Month

Mother Nature Network 3.30.11

Main_turtle_16 One of the more disturbing effects of our over-indulgence and reliance on use-and-toss disposables rests in the significant health risks it poses to animals via marine pollution. Of the issues being discussed this week at the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, one report that has experts talking is the appalling story of a sea turtle that ingested a large piece of plastic that became lodged in its gastrointestinal tract, preventing the turtle from normal digestion. After researchers dislodged the shard of plastic, the animal proceeded to defecate 74 foreign objects over the next month!

According to the report, which was issued by Seaturtle.org's Marine Turtle Newsletter (pdf), about half of all surveyed sea turtles have ingested plastic. 

See what shocking items this turtle ingested by reading the full article here. To access advice and follow conference events, visit the group's website here.
Image: Mnn.com

March 04, 2011

Hawaii County Council advances plastic bag ban bill

Hawaii Tribune-Herald 2.17.11

HawaiiCouncil-250x159 The Hawaii County Council advanced a bill that would make the island of Hawaii the third island to prohibit retailers from distributing plastic bags to consumers for free. However, the bill has been met with controversy as councilmen and retail merchants battle over penalty provisions and enforcements. In Kauai County, its council is already revising its bag ban less than a month after it went into effect in order to address complications that surfaced.

Despite controversy, Maui and Kauai implemented plastic bag bans January, 11, 2011, which have been praised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for reducing waste and preventing plastic from accumulating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, potentially harming turtles and other marine life.

Read more about out stance on fees vs. bans here.

Read the full article from Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Image:Change.org

 

November 18, 2010

Spreading the word, one vacuum at a time

Electrolux-Concept-Vacs-x2-178x178 10.18.10 MSNBC

Stockholm-based appliance company Electrolux AB recently produced a custom set of five vacuum cleaners made from water-bourne plastic trash.

The refuse was collected from different oceans and seas across the globe, with each locale’s most prevalent trash dictating its vacuum’s unique look.

Though the vacuums are not for sale, they do work. Electrolux hopes these fashionable, functional pieces of art will begin a discussion about the growing problem of water-bound plastic pollution and perhaps even move people away from the use-and-toss culture that led to the current situation.

Read more at MSNBC.

October 14, 2010

The Great Atlantic Garbage Patch

WHOI 8.20.2010

Scientists with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Sea Education Association have been collecting data concerning the presence of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean for several decades. They've recently published a pair of studies analyzing the data. Here are a few highlights from the writeup in Oceanus:

Assessing 22 years of data collected by SEA ships ... researchers found that more than 60 percent of the tows contained detectable plastic debris. Average densities rivaled those reported from the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” ranging from 1,400 pieces per square kilometer in the Caribbean to more than 20,000 pieces per square kilometer in the Sargasso Sea.

Yes, you read that right. Average density of plastic debris in large areas of the Atlantic "rivaled" the Pacific Garbage Patch. If that's not scary enough, it shattered the Pacific Patch's record in other areas.

...the highest value recorded during the 22-year period was 580,000 pieces per square kilometer at 24.6°N east of the Bahamas. The region, where 83 percent of all the plastic debris was collected, is known as the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, a part of the ocean bounded by a series of wind-driven currents, such as the Gulf Stream, that collectively flow clockwise around the subtropical North Atlantic.

In areas of the North Atlantic, we've recorded plastic present at 30 times the amount of the now-legendary Pacific Patch.

Additionally the research has lead SEA and WHOI to a few answers and a number of intriguing new questions; If PET plastic bottles litter our beaches and continue to make their way into the ocean, why have we found almost no trace of them in the oceanic samples?

Learn more by reading the complete Oceanus article here.

September 21, 2010

Dutch Plan to Turn Waste Into Living Space

Ventnor Blog - 6.30.10

A group of scientists from Holland are planning to construct an "Eco Island" by collecting and recycling just under 100 million pounds of plastic bottles from the Pacific Ocean.
 
The plan is to create a completely habitable island and populate it with about 500,000 people. The proposed island would be the size of Hawaii, self-sufficient for food, and would use solar and wave power to supplement its power supply.

Read the full story here.

Our Take: This is a clever way to raise worldwide awareness of a plethora of issues concerning waste. The project touches on everything from land usage, carbon footprint reduction and power consumption to plastic waste and the polluted state of our oceans.
 
Sadly, the amount of plastic to be used in the proposed island would be less than 20% of the amount disposed of by the US in just 2008, and we've already called plenty of attention to the folly of trying to solve the plastic bag problem through recycling.

BPA Wiping Out Lobster Population

Lobster-die-offs Treehugger 8.11.10

Scientists at the University of Connecticut recently linked a major decline in the population of lobsters native to the New York coast with a rise in a few pollutants, including bisphenol A(BPA) from plastic waste.

The three-year, $3 million dollar study claims that a specific group of pollutants are working as endocrine disruptors. This lengthens the maturing lobsters' molting cycle, leaving them without chitinous armor for weeks at a time. This further results in deformities, increased susceptibility to disease, and in many cases, death. The coastal lobster population has declined 85% in the last twelve years.

Read the whole article here.

Our Take: Most of us have heard about BPA leaching from some plastic bottles. This article just offers further cause for worry. This data confirms the no-brainer advice we've been giving for years - avoid BPA as much as possible. And remember, it's not just plastics that pose a risk. Cans are another important source of BPA

Catastrophes like this come from decades of mindless waste and pollution. Buy high-quality reusables; they won't wind up floating in the ocean and they don't contain toxins like BPA to begin with.

Plastiki Completes Voyage

S-PLASTIKI-large The Huffington Post - 7.23.10

The Plastiki has been sailing the Pacific Ocean since mid-March and recently reached the destination of its maiden voyage. The journey lasted four months and spanned approximately 8,300 miles from San Francisco to Australia.
 
The expedition aimed to raise awareness of plastic over-consumption. The Plastiki's hull was constructed of more than 12,000 empty plastic bottles. The Plastiki website estimated that over the course of the intercontinental excursion, the United States used more than 8.7 billion plastic bottles.

Read the full article here.

Our Take: Interesting way for an eccentric heir to draw attention to the problem of water-bound plastics and illustrate how plastic garbage can be reused in innovative ways. For more, read our article on plastic's impact on oceans.

April 17, 2010

Plastiki Reports from the Middle of the Ocean

The New York Times - 3.30.10

IPlastikiSiten mid-March, the Plastiki set sail from San Francisco, making its way through the North Pacific Garbage Patch toward its final destination - Sydney, Australia. The mission of the journey is to draw attention to the growing pollution and problems caused by our reliance on disposable plastic items. The ship, made in part of recycled plastic bottles, embodies another part of the team's mission, demonstrating a possibility for creative reuse of what would otherwise be waste.

Read the entire NYT article here.

You can also track the Plastiki's journey here or join the pledge to stop using disposable water bottles.

Our Take: For more, read our article on plastic's impact on oceans.

February 08, 2010

Plastiki to set sail soon

The New York Times - 2.7.10

Plastiki
"Typhoons. Hurricanes. Cyclones. Tidal waves. Sharks. As if designing a boat to cope with all that on the 11,000-mile voyage from San Francisco to Sydney isn't daunting enough, this one also has to be environmentally irreproachable. That's the point of 'The Plastiki,' which is due to set sail next month after three years of planning, research and construction. the aim of the voyage is to raise awareness of global waste and, to practice what it preaches, the 60-foot, or 18-meter, boat has been made from some 13,000 recycled plastic water bottles..."

Read the entire article here.

Our Take: Interesting way for an eccentric heir to draw attention to the plastic waste issue. After a few delays, we're ready to see the ship set sail!

November 12, 2009

Floating islands of plastic in ocean may be larger than expected

The New York Times - 11.10.09

Plasticpile
"HAWAII- In this remote patch of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from any national boundary, the detritus of human life is collecting in a swirling current so large that it defies precise measurement. Light bulbs, bottle caps, toothbrushes, Popsicle sticks and tiny pieces of plastic, each the size of a grain of rice, inhabit the Pacific garbage patch, an area of widely disbursed rash that doubles in size every decade and is now believed to be roughly twice the size of Texas. But one research organization estimates that the garbage now actually pervades the Pacific...

Scientists say the garbage patch is just one of five that may be caught in giant gyres scattered around the world's oceans."

Read the entire article "Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash."

September 09, 2009

Plastic Pieces Large and Small found in Expedition to Giant Garbage Patch

Inside Bay Area.com 9.1.09

Garbage Patch Plastic "Scientists who returned to the Bay Area this week after an expedition to the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' brought piles of plastic debris they pulled out of the ocean - soda bottle, cracked patio chairs, Styrofoam chunks, old toys, discarded fishing floats and tangled nets. But what alarmed them most, they said... was the nearly inconceivable amount of tiny, confetti-like pieces of broken plastic..."

An investigator described this excessive marine debris as the "new man-made epidemic," since the tiny pieces are believed to contain toxic chemicals and can absorb banned substances such as DDT. Not only is there a chemical threat, but the growing garbage patch debris poses danger to marine life and birds.

Read the entire article.

Our Take:This is an issue we’ve been covering for year - see our information on the lingering legacy of plastic in our oceans. Mindless over-consumption of use & toss items is at the root of this problem, and it's up to all of us to wake up and consciously consume far fewer of them.

August 20, 2009

Plastic Toxins May Leach into Oceans

Wired.com 08.19.09

“Although plastic has long been considered indestructible, some scientists say toxic chemicals from decomposing plastics may be leaching into the sea and harming marine ecosystems.

WiredToxicSoupContrary to the commonly-held belief that plastic takes 500 to 1,000 years to decomposes, researchers now report that the hard plastic polystyrene begins to break down in the ocean within one year, releasing potentially toxic bisphenol A (BPA) and other chemicals into the water…”

Read Toxic Soup: Plastics Could be Leaching Chemicals Into Ocean

April 30, 2009

OUR SCOOP: The Bay vs. The Bag

ReusableBags.com 4.30.09

A must-see video from San Francisco-based Save the Bay and Free Range Studios shows the tidal wave of plastic bags that threaten our environment, waterways and shorelines.

The group is mobilizing thousands –fighting for legislation to ban or tax all single-use bags in the Bay Area and throughout California. Haunting visuals and powerful statistics combine to inspire us all to kick the disposable bag habit.

Our Take:  The best video we’ve seen yet that wakes people up to plastic bag waste. We’ve been an active supporter of Free Range Studios and their powerful, cause-related videos designed to effect change.

April 01, 2009

Plastic-Bottle Boat Ready to Sail

Plasticboat National Geographic 3.2009 

Explorer, environmentalist, and British celebrity David de Rothschild will set out on a 11,000-mile (17,703-kilometer) journey across the Pacific Ocean at the end of March—in a boat made of plastic bottles.


Our Take: The "Plastiki" has set sail - bringing awareness to the issue of out-of-control plastic bottle consumption and offering us a glimpse into how at least some of the 25 billion bottles trashed each year can be reused.

Link: Plastic-Bottle Boat Ready to Sail

Watch a video about the "Plastiki" here...

January 19, 2009

The Surfrider Foundation wants to wipe out pollution

SurfriderNJ APP.com 1.18.09

Bill Rosenblatt picks up dozens of plastic bottle caps and cigar tips every time he takes his dog Happy for a walk on the beach.

All told, the former mayor has collected about 5,000 to 10,000 caps and about 2,000 tips from beaches in Asbury Park, Allenhurst and here since November.

"I'm really heartbroken," said Rosenblatt, a Loch Arbour resident and member of the Jersey Shore Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, an international nonprofit environmental group. "What kind of oceans are my grandchildren going to find when they're adults?...Plastic is forever."

Link:  The Surfrider Foundation wants to wipe out pollution

January 08, 2009

State panel floats 'litter tax' to curb debris along coast

Sign On San Diego 12.01.08

The influential California Ocean Protection Council has proposed an attack on everyday threats to sea life, including a ban on some popular take-out food containers and fees on plastic and paper bags…

Ocean litter threatens rare sea turtles, sea birds, sea otters and hundreds of other marine species…Eighty percent of ocean litter comes from land sources, the ocean council said. Read more...

Our Take:  Following in the footsteps of France, California would be the first U.S. state to propose a ban or fee on everyday sources of trash – a huge culprit in the “plastic island” of debris floating in the Pacific Ocean. We applaud California’s continuing leadership to reduce consumption, beyond bags and bottles.

Link: State panel floats 'litter tax' to curb debris along coast

Turning plastic into art

Plasticart The Union Tribune 11.08.08

On a recent morning, Peggy Ann Jones, an artist and photography instructor at MiraCosta College, put the finishing touches on her creation, a round, 13-foot white plastic carpet speckled with red, blue, yellow and black…

 
The carpet is the focus of “Vortex Plastique,” an art show with an environmental message that will open Tuesday at MiraCosta College's Kruglak Gallery. The title is a reference to the swirling mass of plastic debris in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Our Take:  It’s great this art exhibit draws attention to the issue of wasteful consumption – and, more importantly, the plastic “monster” floating in the Pacific (an issue we've covered extensively). Plus, profits go to the Surfrider Foundation, a fantastic organization committed to preserving our oceans and beaches that we also donate to.  

Link: Turning plastic into art

September 16, 2008

Junk Raft Cruises from Long Beach to Honolulu

Junkraftthelog TheLog.com  09.04.08

Three months after a raft built of marine refuse, named Junk, left the docks at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific, the crew waved hello to a crowd gathered at Ala Wai Harbor, where the boat was welcomed at the end of its “consciousness-raising” voyage on Aug. 27. Pulling into the docks, the sailors may have appeared a little worn-out from the three-month trip, but the plastic bottles that formed the boat’s hull did not display any sign of wear or tear. That fact demonstrated exactly how durable plastic items are as waterborne debris at sea, a point the crew hopes to get across to others.

Link: Junk Raft Cruises from Long Beach to Honolulu

August 06, 2008

VIDEO CLIP: Plastics are Forever

The Cleanest Line - Patagonia, 08.05.08

Maui native Micah Wolf teams up with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and photographer Ben Moon to create this powerful music video that empowers us to do something about the amount of plastics in our oceans.

MULTIMEDIA: Laysan Albatross & Plastics - A Deadly Diet

Monterey Bay Aquarium, 06.01.08Albatross_montereybay_2

Of 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, about 200,000 die of starvation. The awful truth—in their searches of the ocean surface, albatrosses mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding Lego blocks, clothespins, plastic bag bits and a host of other man-made junk to their chicks. As a result, the large amount of plastic crowding the chick’s stomach leaves little room for food and liquid. The amount of plastic floating in our oceans has grown dramatically over the last fifty years. Anthony L. Andrady, a polymer chemist at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina says that plastic takes decades to break down on land, but even longer at sea because the water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays. “Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere.”

Link: Laysan Albatross & Plastics - A Deadly Diet 

Plastic Island - Nasty, Gargantuan & Growing

ReusableBags.com, 08.01.08 Latimes_alteredoceans_3

A couple of websites recently caught our attention, each detailing the Sci-Fi-esque (but very real) floating plastic island located approximately 500 nautical miles off the California coast. "The island" is a grotesquely large patch of floating plastic trash held together by currents stretching across the northern Pacific almost as far as Japan. Discovered by Charles Moore, this "plastic island" is made up of about 7 billion pounds of plastic garbage.

Sea preserves a plastic plague - LA Times 08.03.07

The LA Times produced a fantastic five-part multimedia series on the state of our altered oceans. Part four delves into the “plastic island”, officially called a gyre. This disturbing presentation features great videos, haunting photography and lots of helpful information.
Link: Sea preserves a plastic plague

Plastic patch in pacific grows to twice the size of the US - Daily Kos 02.06.08

Another great site investigating this mess is the Daily Kos. They feature an interview with Marcus Eriksen, one of the research directors at the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (the same folks sailing the “Junk Raft”). Eriksen said: "The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States."
Link: Plastic patch in pacific grows to twice the size of the US

The trash vortex - Greenpeace International 11.12.06Greenpeace_trash_vortex

Greenpeace created this cool, simple visual explaining “the island”—“Plastic trash and other flotsam that is either directly thrown or washed by rivers into the North Pacific, is swept up by the currents of a gigantic swirling vortex called the North Pacific Gyre. In the centre, the calm, just northeast of Hawai’i the result is a trash carpet that scientists calculate has now reached the size of Texas.”
Link: The Trash Vortex

Our Take: There is a similarity between this huge plastic island in the middle of the ocean and the enormity of plastic bag consumption. Scientists can't agree on the size of "the island" just like no one knows exactly how many plastic bags are being produced and consumed. The one thing everyone agrees on is that the scale of both is huge and deserves our attention. This "island" is the direct effect of our overconsumption. By achieving a significant reduction in use-and-toss items, we can actually make a difference. 

July 30, 2008

Evil Incarnate - Plastic Bag News and Action Alert

Spoutingoff_2Spouting Off, 07.29.08

Support California's landmark legislation to reduce plastic bag consumption—and fight industry's spin to "save the plastic bag"

The American Chemistry Council and plastic bag manufacturers have joined forces to launch a web and radio campaign to stop California’s proposed plastic bag fee, modeled after Ireland’s hugely successful Plastax initiative. Basically, the campaign distorts the facts and scares Californians into thinking the legislation will cost them more money, when the reverse is true.

We just found out about this and here's what we plan to do to support California's policy and help them be a model for cities across the U.S.:

-Post the excellent blog that alerted us to this development in our Newsroom, which gets more than 250,000 unique visitors a month, and add it to our Top Stories Newsletter, which has 8,000 subscribers.

-Point people towards the action alert to support California’s Plastic Bag and Litter Reduction Act (AB 2058).

-Inspire people from all states to tell their Senators to address the issue of plastic bag pollution! Use the form letters provided here to contact your state legislators.

The American Chemistry Council is using scare tactics and twisted facts on the issue of plastic bags because they don't have a leg to stand on. They're feigning concern about rapid deforestation, should consumers kick the plastic-bag addiction and replace it with paper bags, totally (and conveniently) ignoring the very viable solution of reusable bags.

YES, WE’LL HAVE TO FIGHT to get the real facts out there: Taxpayers DO shoulder the costs of plastic bags in countless ways. Recycling of plastic bags is a paltry 5%, at best. And paper is no better an alternative. It's time to wake up and focus on long-term solutions, not spin. Click here to learn more about the plastic bag issue.

Link: Action Alert to support California's Plastic Bag and Litter Reduction Act

July 24, 2008

VIDEO CLIP: The Dangers of Plastic Bags

ReusableBags.com 07.23.08

Late last week, a fantastic slide show making its way around the internet caught our eye. Using a potent combination of facts and images, it tells the story of plastic bag over-consumption we first laid out at our web site five years ago. Its short, visual format provides an incredible tool to educate and inform.                    

We liked the slide show so much, we hustled to:

  1. Convert and post it as an easy-to-view video on YouTube, opening it up to millions worldwide.
  2. Discover who produced it and give them credit. It turns out to be a fellow Chicagoan! Vishal Mody - a public school teacher.
  3. Share it with you, our 80,000+ newsletter subscribers, and post it in our Newsroom.

Please take just 4 minutes to watch it and help spread the word!

June 24, 2008

A little more junk in the water

National Post, 06.02.08 Junk_raft

In a unique take on raising awareness of the dramatic rise of plastics in our oceans, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal are in the midst of an intense sailing expedition. Their vessel? A raft made from 15,000 plastic bottles, 5,000 plastic bags and a cockpit from an old Cessna airplane. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation hopes the “Junk Raft" will get people to pay attention to the tragedy of the increasing amount of discarded plastic in our oceans; plastic like toothbrushes and cigarette lighters that are choked on by sea birds and microscopic particles that are consumed by fish.

Link: A little more junk in the water 

Check out the blog: Junk Raft Blog

AUDIO CLIP: Beach cleanup tally: 6 million pounds of trash

npr, 04.19.08

Npr_logo1_3The Ocean Conservancy recently released the results from their worldwide beach clean-up effort last September and the numbers are shocking. The majority of items found? Single use disposable plastic items such as plastic bags, Styrofoam containers, etc. 6 million pounds of garbage were removed from beaches that day—it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the total amount of trash in our oceans. “An Environmental Activist talks about where this trash came from and what can be done about it.” 

Our Take: While 6 million pounds sounds like a lot, it barely makes a dent in the sum total of garbage floating out there. The effort is significant, however, because it raises awareness on the issue and gives us more insight to the primary culprits. Listen to story…


Link: Beach cleanup tally: 6 million pounds of trash

April 10, 2008

VIDEO CLIP: Plastic Beaches & Plastic Sand - Yikes!

KHNL NBC Channel 8, Honolulu, HI 11.09.07Khnl_plasticbeach

When our founder was in Hawaii last March, he heard the locals talking about the advent of “Plastic Beaches”. What he learned from them was shocking: a once pristine beach on the southern tip of Hawaii’s Big Island has deteriorated into a polluted mess. Heaps of plastic trash fragments (in places a foot deep) have accumulated here over the years due to the trade winds blowing directly on shore. As the plastic breaks down it is creating a new kind of sand – Plastic Sand. This video demonstrates the pervasive, persistent negative effects plastics are having on our earth. The growing phenomenon of Plastic Beaches and Plastic Sand are a visceral reminder of the downsides of society’s addiction to plastic stuff.

Our Take: We assume a few of you have heard about the “Texas-sized” Plastic Island” off California’s west coast, but how about the disturbing news of plastic beaches and plastic sand?! Plastic is accumulating at an alarming rate in our oceans -- wreaking havoc on wildlife, polluting our beaches and entering our food chain. Watch the video... 

Link: Big Island Beach Attracts Plastic Trash

April 26, 2007

Plastic Bags Polluting Our Oceans

Cohasset Mariner

...in the Pacific Ocean there is an area the approximate size of Texas that is a nearly solid mass — an island -- of plastic bag debris. I tried to visualize this. It seemed so absurd that I started to doubt the facts of the article. I did my own research and found out that, sadly, this is all true. In fact there is an organization, the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, whose work has shown that this plastic island has 1,000,000 times more toxins than surrounding seawaters, and six times as much plastic per weight of water than zooplankton. And their most recent expedition uncovered that the acreage of this area is expanding rapidly...

Link: COLUMN: It’s time to stop using plastic bags.

November 12, 2006

The trash vortex

Greenpeace

The very thing that makes plastic items useful to consumers, their durability and stability, also makes them a problem in marine environments. Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year of which about 10 percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent of this is from ships and platforms, the rest from land.

Link: The trash vortex.

March 28, 2006

Sand, sea and a rising tide of lethal litter

The Scottsman

THE number of plastic bags littering Scotland's beaches - potentially lethal to wildlife - increased by 41 per cent last year, against a national increase of 17 per cent.

Thousands of Marine Conservation Society (MCS) volunteers on a check-and-clean exercise last September also found 66 cigarette stubs for every kilometre of Scottish beach, a 273 per cent increase on the year. They were among the 330,000 items found on more than 170km of Britain's coastline by 3,980 volunteers - on average a plastic bag, lollipop stick, cigarette butt, cotton bud, fish box or burger carton every half-metre.

That total was a modest 4 per cent increase on the year. But in a decade, the count has almost doubled...

Link: Sand, sea and a rising tide of lethal litter.

March 12, 2006

Littering of beaches endangers wildlife

Suffolk & Essex online

A RISING tide of plastic bags is littering East Anglia's beaches and endangering wildlife, according to a report published today.

The report, by the Marine Conservation Society, is based on surveys carried out in September last year and suggests that more litter was dropped on the region's beaches than in 2004.

Andrea Crump, the society's litter projects co-ordinator, said: “It is disappointing but the situation in East Anglia and the rest of the South-East of England is considerably better than the South-West where much more litter is dropped.”

East Anglia is included in the regional results for the South East which show that an average of 1,847 items of litter were found along every kilometre of the 87 beaches surveyed.

Link: Littering of beaches endangers wildlife.

March 22, 2005

Welsh beaches are most littered

BBC News

Litter on Welsh beaches reached a record high in 2004, according to a major seaside cleanliness survey. Wales had the highest density of beach litter recorded in the Marine Conservation Society's Beachwatch initiative. The society has been monitoring beaches for 14 years. It said litter had more than doubled in UK in the past decade. It is campaigning for new laws to control the growth in beach pollution, particularly discarded plastic…

Bags and small plastic pieces can entangle marine animals causing them to drown. They can also be swallowed by marine animals like whales and turtles, causing them to starve….

The society has called on the UK Government to introduce new laws placing a tax on plastic bags…

Link: Welsh beaches are most littered.

April 12, 2004

Sea-bird death toll leads to call for tax on plastic bags

Scotsman.com

WILDLIFE in the North Sea is increasingly falling victim to human waste, with virtually all dead sea-birds found to have eaten litter carried in the water, according to a new study.

Scientists measuring the amount of waste found in fulmars discovered that 96 per cent of the birds had fragments of plastic in their stomachs.

The figure was almost double the amount discovered in the early 1980s, the researchers said. Environmental groups - which are backing an MSP’s bid to introduce a levy on plastic bags in shops in Scotland - branded the figures "truly shocking".

Link: Sea-bird death toll leads to call for tax on plastic bags.