Preliminary results of our oceans shows alarming amount of plastic debris

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There’s a race taking place and it doesn’t result in ribbons or plaques. It’s the “Race for Water Odyssey”. Sponsored by the Race for Water Foundation, this 300 day voyage, which will travel over 40,000 nautical miles, will create the first global assessment of plastic pollution in the ocean by visiting island beaches situated in the 5 “gyres” (trash vortexes)..

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5 Gyres works to help stop plastic pollution of microbeads

plastic microbeads

The issue of plastic in our oceans is huge – and growing! Even with encouraging news regarding Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat’s plan to clean up half the Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years, the issue of microbeads remains.

Plastic microbeads are in beauty products like toothpaste and facial scrubs in humongous amounts. One tube of exfoliating scrub can contain over 350,000 plastic microbeads! It’s estimated that 471 million microbeads are released into the San Francisco Bay every day.

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The “Race for Water Odyssey” to assess global ocean plastic pollution

Race for Water Odyssey graphic

It’s estimated that over 260 billion tons of plastic are currently polluting our oceans, accumulating within whirling pools of water or gyres. Of these five gyres, only one – the Great North Pacific Gyre (also known as the North Pacific Garbage Patch) – is being actively studied.

Scheduled to launch from Bordeaux, France, the Race for Water Odyssey (R4WO) aspires to reach the 5 gyres to study the accumulating waste in these remote areas. While studies on certain vortexes have already been conducted, this expedition will, for the first time  collect and analyze systematic and comparable data on all 5 of the planet’s gyres.. Continue reading

The environmental hazards of microbeads

Plastic microbeads  – tiny, toxic, plastic beads – are in many of our personal care products, like face scrub and toothpaste. They’re so tiny that they are washing down the drains and into our precious waterways.

graphic courtesy of 5 Gyres Institute

graphic courtesy of 5 Gyres Institute

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New technology effective at filtering ocean plastics without harming sea life

Plastic recovered from our ocean's gyres

Plastic recovered from our ocean’s gyres

The plastic pollution in our oceans is a killing our marine life. Sea birds, seals and other marine animals and mammals are turning up dead with lots of plastic in their stomachs that they mistook for food. The problem is that so much of this plastic is small fragments, making it extremely difficult to simply scoop up and recover.

Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans, with estimates that every square mile of the ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one.

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Plant-based water bottle helps fight deforestation and plastic pollution

Treeson Water Bottle PrototypeThere are a lot of water bottling companies out there, and a lot of so-called “green” water and water bottles. I have to admit I’m a bit skeptical when I hear about yet another one. But I did a bit of checking and there’s one that’s caught my eye and imagination.

There’s a new Kickstarter campaign for Treeson water that’s piqued my interest.

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New “garbage patch” discovered in South Pacific ocean

South Pacific Garbage Patch 1

Many are getting familiar with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the term “gyre”, referring to areas of our oceans where large amounts of plastic debris lay swirling in ever-growing dimensions. Now a study published in he journal Marine Pollution Bulletin marks the first documentation of a defined ocean garbage patch in the Southern Hemisphere, where little research on marine plastic pollution exists.

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