Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
We were choking the world’s oceans with plastic pollution before the COVID-19 pandemic but a surge in single-use plastics and PPE along with cuts to municipal recycling programs has caused this waste to skyrocket. According to a recent Oceana report, plastic is becoming the No. 1 killer of the world’s marine life, and it’s within our reach to do something about this (especially if the United States can be a willing participant with other UN nations).
A Global Effort: Richard Leck, the head of the WWF Australia, told the Guardian that more than 70 countries had so far supported a call for the United Nations to introduce a global treaty to combat plastic pollution, and for countries to reduce, regulate and replace plastic products that are particularly dangerous to ocean wildlife like plastic bags, plastic packaging, plastic sheets, fishing rope, and balloons. In addition, the world needs to take a more aggressive stance on the illegal trade of plastic waste, which contributes to large amounts of plastic being dumped into oceans.
There’s even more urgency to act as the recycling systems that did exist before the pandemic are now at risk of faltering. As Rob Kaplan and Martin Stuchtey wrote for Greenbiz:
“Lockdowns halted more than 80 percent of the recycling value chain in Vietnam, the Philippines and India. By April, more than 45 percent of recycling facilities in the United Kingdom reported disruptions to operations, due to the pandemic response.”
However, not all plastic was equally deadly. The most lethal type of plastic was rubber, though the studies could not find exactly how rubber was making its way into the world’s oceans. The studies also found that flexible plastic — used for plastic bags and packaging — was particularly dangerous, for three reasons: it can get easily stuck in the digestive tracts of various animals, it floats to places where animals naturally feed, and it is very common.
Dr. Lauren Roman, who led the study, emphasized how deadly plastics are to ocean megafauna to the Guardian: “Death from eating any of these items is not a quick one and it is not likely to be painless,” she said. “It’s a pretty awful way to die.”
Richard Leck reinforced this, telling the Guardian: “It’s important to remember what happens to these animals when they ingest these plastics. It’s a horrible death. When turtles ingest plastic bags they can’t submerge. Marine mammals waste away over weeks and weeks.”
While an Olympic medal is special in its own right, the ones being handed out at the Tokyo 2020 games come with a little extra magic. After Tokyo won its bid to host the games, the Tokyo Medal Project, called on the Japanese people to donate their old recycled old electronic gadgets such as smartphones […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new series of bills have been introduced in Congress that aim to quell food waste. These bills — the Zero Food Waste Act, and the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques Act (COMPOST) —will reduce food waste and in turn help create jobs, slow climate […]
Two dozen goats were unleashed in Manhattan’s Riverside park last week to get to work chomping down on invasive weeds. Crowds of spectators went to the park Wednesday to witness the ceremonial “running of the goats,” as the animals were released into the area, where they enjoyed a multi-course meal of Japanese knotweed, porcelain berry, multiflora rose, and even […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.