Oct 072017
Startling Facts About Ocean Pollution You Need to Know Right Now One of the major environmental issues that we get to hear about today is about ocean pollution, and how it is taking its toll on marine life. This problem is no more a thing of tomorrow. The denial mode might seem comforting, but the fact is, we are already at the receiving end. According to the data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), approximately 1.4 billion lbs of trash is dumped in the oceans every year. On an average, 8 million items of marine litter are disposed in oceans every single year; approximately 5 million of which are either thrown off board or lost during a storm. It is estimated that 70 percent of the total marine litter is deposited at the seabed; the remaining 30 percent either keeps floating in the ocean or is washed ashore (beach trash). Interestingly, pollution caused by marine transportation only accounts for 10 percent of the total ocean pollution; even that is down from 12 percent in 1990. As a part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup campaign, 598,000 volunteers collected over 9 million lbs of trash from various sites across the world in 2011. In oceanography, 'ocean pollution' is described as pollution of ocean water due to accidental, or deliberate dumping of harmful materials, such as crude oil, ore, or toxic materials, in it. Around 2 million plastic bottles are used in the United States every 5 minutes. Marine debris include a wide range of items – right from cigarette butts and plastic bottles to abandoned fishing nets and oil spilled by vessels plying in these oceans. Marine animals either ingest these debris by mistake or get entangled in them, and end up dying in most of the cases. Shorebirds and other terrestrial species are directly or indirectly dependent on the marine biome, and therefore, are vulnerable to ocean pollution. In their annual Beach Sweep report, the 'Clean Ocean Action' comes up with a list of unusual items found in beach trash — which they call the Roster of Ridiculous. In 2011, this list had some really unusual things, including car bumpers, hair curlers, wax teeth, fire extinguisher, and even a water cooler. Approximately 80 percent of the total ocean pollution is attributed to land-based activities, i.e., non-point sources, like untreated sewage, industrial waste, agricultural runoff, surface runoff, etc. (more…)
Sep 132017
Plastic Ain’t so Fantastic It is now believed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea. (1) Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year. This translates to about a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth.  And the number is rising. If you joined them end on end they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times. 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found. Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic. A plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate. An animal that dies from the bag will decompose and the bag will be released, another animal could harmlessly fall victim and once again eat the same bag. The floods in Bangladesh in 1988 & 1998 were made more severe because plastic bags clogged drains. The government has now banned plastic bags. In Ireland they introduced a 15c plastic bag tax and reduced their usage by 90% in one year. It is now 22 cents. The #1 man made thing that sailors see in our ocean are plastic bags. There are believed to be 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean. There are 5 ocean gyres in the world where plastic gathers due to current circulation. These gyres contain millions of pieces of plastic and our wildlife feed in these grounds. It can take anything between 20-1000 years for a plastic bag to break up. I mean break up as they break up into smaller pieces. They don’t break down and those that do, break down into polymers and toxic chemicals. It costs US$4,000 to recycle 1 tonne of plastic bags and you get a product that can be sold on the commodities market for US$32. We must stop them because recycling is not viable. It takes just 4 family shopping trips to accumulate 60 shopping bags. World wide, 13,000-15,000 pieces of plastic are dumped into the ocean every day. Every year, 6.4 million tonnes are dumped into the ocean. This is the same as 3,200 kilometres of trucks each loaded with garbage. At least two thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from (more…)
Apr 032017
INDONESIA: The Methane Gas Canteen is an eatery like no other – it’s situated right in the middle of the Jatibarang Landfill in Semarang, Central Java, surrounded by mounds of putrefying waste, household rubbish, broken glass and plastic. Every day, while men, women and children dig through mountains of trash collecting plastic and glass bottles to sell, husband and wife team Sarimin and Suyatmi are busy cooking. Their customers? Cash-strapped scavengers who have the option to pay for their meals with plastic waste instead of money – part of the community’s novel solution to recycle the non-degradable plastic and reduce waste in the landfill. Mr Sarimin, 56, weighs the amount of plastic each customer brings to the diner and calculates how much it is worth. This value is then deducted from the cost of the meal, or any surplus value refunded to the customer. “I think we recycle 1 tonne of plastic waste a day, which is a lot. This way, the plastic waste doesn’t pile up, drift down the river and cause flooding. “This doesn’t only benefit the scavengers, it benefits everyone,” said Mr Sarimin. WATCH: How this works (2:08)   </p> </p></div> <p> The couple were profiled in a recent episode of Indonesia’s Game Changers, a series about inspiring individuals whose creativity and perseverance wrought changes around them. (Link: <a data-cke-saved-href="http://video.toggle.sg/en/series/indonesia-s-game-changers/ep3/483743" href="http://video.toggle.sg/en/series/indonesia-s-game-changers/ep3/483743">Watch the full episode here</a>) </p> <p> The diner, which seats about 30 people, serves dishes like mangut rice with catfish and rice with boiled egg for between US$0.40 and US$0.80 each. </p> <p> Opened in January 2016, the diner was the brainchild of Mr Agus Junaedi, the former head of Jatibarang Landfill. He was tasked in 2014 by Semarang’s mayor Hendrar Prihadi to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the landfill. Some 800 tonnes of waste end up in this landfill every day, and 40 per cent of it is plastic waste. </p> <p> Mr Agus said that price of plastic was drastically devalued at that time, at around US$0.04 per kg. “Naturally, no one wanted to collect plastic waste. So, we thought, why don’t we get the scavengers to pay for their meal with plastic waste” he said. </p> <p> <img alt="" data-cke-saved-src="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/blob/3645178/1491092442000/igc-landfill-4-data.jpg" src="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/blob/3645178/1491092442000/igc-landfill-4-data.jpg"/> </p> <p> <strong>FREE METHANE GAS FROM TRASH</strong> </p> <p> Mr Sarimin said he and his wife have doubled their daily income by opening the diner, compared to just scavenging alone. (more…)