Ocean Action Hub

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Plastic pollution flowing into oceans to triple by 2040 - study

10 Sept 2020 - Single-use plastic consumption has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the International Solid Waste Association, an NGO.

10 Sept 2020 - Single-use plastic consumption has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the International Solid Waste Association, an NGO. Face masks and latex gloves are washing up daily on Asia’s remote beaches. Landfills worldwide are piled high with record amounts of takeaway food containers and online delivery packaging.

The new research, produced by scientists and industry experts for The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ, offers solutions that could cut the projected volume of plastic entering the ocean by more than 80%.

The roadmap for stemming the runaway ocean plastic waste crisis is among the most detailed ever offered in a study.

If no action is taken, however, the amount of plastic going into the sea every year will rise from 11 million tonnes to 29 million tonnes, leaving a cumulative 600 million tonnes swilling in the ocean by 2040, the equivalent weight of 3 million blue whales, according to the study published in the journal Science.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN24O2Q6

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A plateful of plastic: Visualising the amount of microplastic we eat

3 Jan 2020 - Do you want to know the amount of microplastic you eat - every day, every week, every year?

3 Jan 2020 - Do you want to know the amount of microplastic you eat - every day, every week, every year? Let's #BeatPlasticPollution

Microscopic pieces of plastic have been discovered in the most remote locations, from the depths of the ocean to Arctic ice. Another place that plastic is appearing is inside our bodies. We’re breathing microplastic, eating it and drinking plastic-infused water every day.

Plastic does not biodegrade. Instead, it breaks down into smaller pieces, and ultimately ends up everywhere, including in the food chain. Pieces that are less than five millimeters in length, around the size of a sesame seed, are called “microplastics.”

Dozens of reports have been published on microplastics but the scientific community is still only scratching the surface of understanding just how much plastic we consume and how harmful it could be.

People could be ingesting the equivalent of a credit card of plastic a week, a recent study by WWF International concluded, mainly in drinking water but also via sources like shellfish, which tend to be eaten whole so the plastic in their digestive systems is also consumed.

Based on the findings of the study, Reuters created these images to illustrate what this amount of plastic actually looks like over various time periods.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://graphics.reuters.com/ENVIRONMENT-PLASTIC/0100B4TF2MQ/index.html

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Scientists to test 50 coral reefs to seek ways to counter climate change - Reuters

23 Feb 2017 - Ocean scientists will test ways to limit damage from climate change, pollution and over-fishing to prevent destruction of all reefs by 2050.

23 Feb 2017 - Ocean scientists will pick 50 coral reefs worldwide to test ways to limit damage from climate change, pollution and over-fishing that threatens to wipe out 90 percent of all reefs by 2050, according to a plan launched on Thursday.

Last year was the warmest on record the third time in a row, damaging corals from Australia's Great Barrier Reef to the Caribbean, a loss for fragile species and a threat to coastal economies in the magnitude of billions of dollars.

An alliance of scientists, conservationists and philanthropists said experts will select 50 reefs around the globe during 2017 and then test conservation techniques that will be extended elsewhere if successful.

"There's been a lot of work on identifying the train crash (for corals) but very little about 'let's not let this happen'," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and a leader of the "50 Reefs" project.

"We can change the course" of coral losses, he told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding the plan was the first global attempt to safeguard corals beyond national measures.

Methods could include no-fishing zones, cutting pollution in coastal seas, finding ways to eradicate non-native fish species or limits on scuba-diving tourism. The reefs to be chosen for study are likely to be vulnerable ones with a wide variety of marine life.

Many people wrongly associate climate change only with heatwaves, storms and wildfires on land, Michael Bloomberg, the U.N. secretary-general's special envoy for cities and climate change, said in a statement about the project.

"Some of the most disastrous effects of climate change are out of sight – on the ocean floor. In fact, unless we take urgent action, 90 percent of coral reefs are expected to disappear by 2050," he said. CONTINUE READING: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-corals-idUSKBN1621XF

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Scientists claim existence of drowned Pacific Ocean continent

18 February 2017 - A continent two-thirds the size of Australia has been found beneath the south-west Pacific Ocean, scientists reported in the journal of the Geological Society of America

18 February 2017 - A continent two-thirds the size of Australia has been found beneath the south-west Pacific Ocean, scientists reported in the journal of the Geological Society of America.

The land mass of 4.5 million square kilometers (1.74 million square miles) is 94 percent underwater and only its highest points - New Zealand and New Caldeonia - poke above the surface.

"It's rather frustrating for us geologists with the oceans being there," said Nick Mortimer, a geologist at GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand.

"If we could pull the plug on the oceans it would be clear to everyone we have mountain chains and a big high-standing continent above the ocean crust."

Mortimer was lead author of the paper titled "Zealandia: Earth's hidden continent" which says the new discoveries prove what had long been suspected.

"Since about the 1920s, from time to time in geology papers people used the word 'continental' to describe various parts of New Zealand and the Catham Islands and New Caledionia," Mortimer said.

"The difference now is that we feel we've gathered enough information to change 'continental' to the noun, 'continent'."

Mortimer said geologists early in the previous century had found granite from sub-antarctic islands near New Zealand and metaphormic rocks on New Caledonia that were indicative of continental geology.

If the recent discovery is accepted by the scientific community, cartographers will probably have to add an eighth continent to future maps and atlases.

"The paper we've written unashamedly sticks to empirical observations and descriptions," Mortimer said. "The litmus test will really be if 'Zealandia' appears in maps and atlases in five or 10 year's time.""Zealandia" is believed to have broken away from Australia about 80 million years ago and sank beneath the sea as part of the break up of the super-continent known as Gondwanaland.

CONTINUE READING: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-new-zealand-continent-idUSKBN15X044