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Deep sea amphipods like this small shrimp-like creature are eating microscopic pieces of plastic and tiny microfibers. Photo: David Shale/Minden Pictures
Plastic pollution is a global crisis that affects just about every ecosystem on Earth: from the Arctic to the deepest depths of the ocean. As National Geographic recently reported as part of their “Planet or Plastic” series, “a British research team captured amphipods, tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that scavenge on the seabed, from six of the world’s deepest ocean trenches and took them back to their lab. There, they discovered that more than 80 percent of the amphipods had plastic fibers and particles in their digestive systems, known as the hindgut. The deeper the trench, the more fibers they found. In the Mariana Trench, the deepest at more than seven miles beneath the waves in the western Pacific, the scientists found fibers in 100 percent of the samples–in every amphipod collected.”
But those pieces also sink, snowing into the deep sea and upon the amphipods that live there.
Why This Matters: Since plastic can take hundreds (if not thousands) of years to decompose, it continues to break down into smaller fragments in the world’s oceans. These microplastics can contain chemical additives and contaminants that can be harmful at extremely low concentrations for small marine creatures. Additionally, these small animals are at the base of the marine food web so these toxins are eventually ingested by larger species and can even make their way into human diets when we consume seafood. While there’s still a knowledge gap about the exact effects plastics have on marine creatures (though evidence suggests they pose a serious risk), we have to start forging a pathway to limit the creation of new plastic and to hold manufacturers of plastic items accountable for the recycling and clean up of the items they sell.
In its annual Sustainability Report, Ford Motors made several key pledges in addition to the promise to be carbon neutral as a company by 2050. In addition, they will use 100 percent locally sourced renewable energy for all manufacturing plants globally by 2035, aspire to achieve zero air emissions from our facilities, only use recycled and renewable plastics in our vehicles globally and eliminate single-use plastics from our operations by 2030, and achieve true zero waste to landfill across our operations, among other social responsibility commitments.
Why This Matters: Other car companies have focused on products — Daimler Chrysler, VW, and Tesla come to mind.
Yesterday, online retail giant Amazon announced its Climate Pledge Fund–a $2 billion that will invest in companies that develop innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions. As the Verge explained, The fund will help Amazon and other companies adhere to The Climate Pledge initiative it started in September 2019. That pledge committed the company, and others […]
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