Yes, you read that correctly. 5 trillion pieces of plastic. After 24 expeditions occurring from 2007 to 2013, 5 Gyres Institute has recently concluded and published a report that states that there are a total of 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently circulating in our oceans. These pieces, which equal 296,000 tons, can be found throughout the entire ocean, including many ecosystems; this contradicts the common assumptions that most of the plastic pieces are found mainly in gyres, which are large systems of rotating ocean currents.
But where does all of this trash come from? According to Anastasia Pantsios’ article, the plastic is “swept into the ocean from rivers, coastal activity and shipping lanes.” The plastic then becomes degraded into microplastics and travels throughout the ocean. It becomes very easy for marine animals to then accidentally ingest these pieces. With this report, 5 Gyres Institute hopes to spark companies into taking action to create better, more eco-friendly packaging that will eliminate many –single use packages. Fortunately, according to Michael Eriksen, 5 Gyres Institute’s director of research, “if we stop adding to the problem, the oceans will clean themselves.”
Read the full story here.
This is some serious news!!! Bee attractive plants that gardeners use to promote Bee procreation, have been tested and found to contain neonicotinoids! In Canada!
The seeds of these plants are treated the same way as farmers crops – they are soaked in the pesticide so that as it grows, the pesticide is contained within each cell of the plant. It is more effective than spraying and reduces labour hours, however at what price? These neonics are the same that have polluted the water supply throughout the states, and has been banned from use in animal fodder and animal and plant refugee conservation sites.
About 50% of the bee-friendly plants have enough of the pesticide to kill bee’s outright, and 40% have two varieties of the neonics! Samples were taken from London, Ontario, Montreal and Vancouver, all with similarly disturbing results. How are we as consumers able to encourage growth in the bee population if the plants we buy to do just that, are actually detrimental to their numbers?
A new study released by Friends of the Earth Canada shows that over 60 per cent of “bee-friendly” home garden plants sold at garden centers have been pre-treated with neonicotinoids (neonics) pesticides shown to harm and kill bees. Of the samples collected from London, 100 per cent contained neonics, the highest amount in the Canadian tests.
The plants tested were: Calibrachoa, Gerbera Daisy, Shasta Daisy and Zonal Geranium. All but the Zonal Geranium showed two neonic pesticides, increasing its sub-lethal effects.
The Canadian data is part of a larger study, Gardeners Beware 2014, released by Friends of the Earth in Canada and Friends of the Earth U.S. with Pesticide Research Institute (PRI). Garden plant samples were collected from top garden retailers from 18 cities across Canada and the United States. Canadian samples were collected in London (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec) and Vancouver (British Columbia).
Gardeners Beware 2014 reported that 51 per…
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Toledo, Ohio and surrounding area are currently not able to drink their tap water because of a large algae bloom on Lake Erie. What this post from ThinkProgress adds to the story, is that climate change, and humans are direct aggressors on the formation, and severity, of these blooms.
Events such as this continue to give tangible proof of the importance in moving towards more eco-friendly practices. Read this article for more information.
BY EMILY ATKIN POSTED ON AUGUST 3, 2014
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows the algae bloom on Lake Erie in 2011 which according to NOAA was the worst in decades.
Approximately 400,000 people in and around Toledo, Ohio are being warned not to drink their tap water after high levels of a dangerous toxin were discovered in the water supply Saturday, according to the Toledo-Lucas County Department of Health.
The toxin is called microcystin, the high levels of which were caused by massive increases in algae on Lake Erie. The increases in algae, called “algae blooms”, are poisonous if consumed — causing abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness, and dizziness. Boiling the water doesn’t help — in fact, itincreases the presence of the toxin.
As of now, it’s…
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David Quilty, blogger of The Good Human, writes some devastating news last week. The insecticide neonicotinoids which are used to kill bees have been detected in nine major rivers across six different states. While the effects of neonicotinoids are quasi-understood when used as insecticides, what the effects on the fish population will be is still uncertain. The likelihood of negative effects however, seems plausible if not probable. What’s more is that now that the toxin has infected our water supply, it can be precipitated across other areas where there is not agricultural purpose. This does not effect one farm, but breaks through ecosystem borders. Currently, Bayer and Monsanto (among others) manufacture and sell them, and it is the most widely used insecticide in the world. Already detrimental effects are compounding from the usage of this chemical, but will the present profits made from it continue to outweigh the future of our planet?
Lindsay McNamara, the mastermind behind 20-something Environmentalist shares her insightful views on subjects such as animal conservation, organic farming, environmental justice, greenhouse gases and sustainability, among many.
As told by the 20-something Environmentalist herself:
“I’ve been interested in the environment all my life. I began checking out books on animals at my school library as early as 2nd grade, catching bugs in 5th grade and bird watching in 8th grade. By high school, I was testing water quality of a local river in my AP Environmental Science class. It was only fitting for me to study the environment in college.
I graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environment, Society and Sustainability. I have experience working in various sectors of the environmental field: state and county government, academia, and non-profit.
I enjoy hiking, running, biking, looking for shells and sea glass along the ocean, and keeping up with environmental news. I’m a Jersey Girl born and raised, and now a proud “local” living at the beach in NJ. All views on my blog are my own.”
To check out this blog, click here: 20-something Environmentalist
Tony Haymet, former director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has heard hundreds of ocean cleanup plans. Late at night, over many beers, he’s come up with a few dozen of his own. None of them, he says, has seemed likely to work.
That includes this spring’s offerings. A Dutch engineering student, Boyan Slat, envisions a contraption with massive booms that would sweep debris into a huge funnel. Songwriter and music producer Pharrell Williams wants to fund the monumental cost of any cleanup by turning recycled ocean plastic into yarn and then clothes.
The challenge is huge. For one thing, the garbage is spread over millions of square miles. For another, it’s made up mostly of degraded plastic, broken down by sunlight and waves into tiny bits the size of grains of rice.
“That’s what makes it so horrifying,” Haymet says. “The micro-plastic is the same size as the stuff living in the water column. How would we ever go out and collect it? So far no one’s come up with a plan to separate all the micro-plastic from the living life that’s the same size.”
In the face of growing criticism, Slat had to back off his optimistic boast that he could clean up the oceans in five years. He posted a notice on his website asking the media and the critics to wait until he finishes his research.
Meanwhile, the garbage keeps growing.
Consider this alarming statistic from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, which is wrapping up a three-year study of marine debris: Every decade global production of plastics doubles. Even if someone came up with a workable collecting mechanism, how much impact could it have?
Read the full story here.
No evidence of a crash, but lots of garbage. So far that’s what the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has uncovered, highlighting the rubbish problem in the world’s oceans. The Indian Ocean contains one of five major ocean gyres — rotating whirlpools of water — believed to trap huge collections of trash in its currents. The other four massive gyres are located in the North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic and South Atlantic.
Ocean debris can cause damage to animals that swallow the plastic, either accidentally or mistaking it for food. Some experts suggest the smaller plastic particles — which fish could mistake for plankton — may absorb potentially harmful chemicals swirling in the waters.
Read the full story here.
A law was just passed that gives oil, gas and mining companies the power to open up BC’s provincial parks for industrial activity. Resource companies will now be able to drill exploratory wells, build roads and dig giant test pits, all in the name of pipeline and transmission line “research”.
Unless we act now to repeal this law, some of the most beautiful parks in Canada could be opened up to industrial development. This could set a dangerous national precedent as oil, gas and mining companies scramble to extract as many fossil fuel resources as possible from deep below the soil. But if we add our voices to the thousands of letters that the BC Ministry of Environment has already received, they will be forced to respond.
Take action now to keep Big Oil out of our parks.
Our provincial parks are legally held in trust for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of the public. But now, some of our most pristine and beloved landscapes in the country are in real danger. Leaked documents show that the BC government is already considering redrawing the boundaries of 30 parks to accommodate destructive new gas and oil pipelines. And now the new Parks Amendment Act could open up these beautiful landscapes for industrial activity – including exploratory wells 75 metres deep and sample pits 250 metres deep.
Read the full story here.
The Alberta government has ordered ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corporation and Bonavista Energy Corporation to clean up the site of a former sour gas plant.
The government says ConocoPhillips Canada is the holder of the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Act approval for the reclamation of the Crossfield sour gas processing plant and is the surface lease holder.
It says Bonavista Energy Corporation obtained the Alberta Energy Regulator well licence from ConocoPhillps Canada in January 2003.
In 2010, a report summarizing the monitoring data was completed.
The report identified petroleum hydrocarbons, chloride and metals in groundwater and soil exceeding the provincial guidelines on the well and plant site and extending beyond those boundaries.
The Alberta government says no further site investigations, soil/groundwater sampling events or remedial work have been undertaken by ConocoPhillips Canada or Bonavista since 2010.
The enforcement order requires that ConocoPhillips Canada and Bonavista must submit a written delineation plan, prepared by a qualified environmental professional, to the government for approval.
Read the full story here.
Obvious oil spills, like the 168,000 gallons (635,000 liters) of oil that leaked into Galveston Bay on Saturday, usually make national news, accompanied by pictures of oil-blackened wildlife.
But such publicized events account for only a small part of the total amount of oil pollution in the oceans—and many of the other sources, such as automobile oil, go largely unnoticed, scientists say.
In fact, of the tens of millions of gallons of oil that enter North American oceans each year due to human activities, only 8 percent comes from tanker or oil pipeline spills, according to the 2003 book Oil in the Sea III by the U.S. National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, which is still considered the authority on oil-spill data.
Most oil pollution is “different than the pictures you see of beaches covered with tar and ducks getting stuck in it,” said David Valentine, a biogeochemist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. (Read more about how pollution harms the oceans.)
Here are three little-reported sources of oil that contribute to oil pollution in North American oceans.
1. Natural Seeps
Natural seeps of oil underneath the Earth’s surface account for 60 percent of the estimated total load in North American waters and 40 percent worldwide, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
These leakages occur when oil—which is lighter than water—escapes into the water column from highly pressurized seafloor rock. (Read about Gulf of Mexico seeps.)
Off Santa Barbara, California, some 20 to 25 tons of oil flows from seafloor cracks daily—making it one of the world’s largest seeps.
Read the full story here.