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Dirty Danube

“Based on the ambient population data and the local runoff, the researchers estimated that the Danube carries about 4.2 tons of plastic litter into the Black Sea on a daily basis. On an annual basis this means 1,533 tons of litter; more than the estimated mass of the infamous litter islands in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean.

So far the growing quantity of litter has been studied almost only in oceans and seas, however, plastic particles can cause similar harms in rivers as well. Fish may swallow the small plastic items which can make them die. Toxic materials can be absorbed by the plastic items, possibly entering humans who eat fish.”

New research – read more

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Why Wales banned the bag….

Beachwatch is a UK wide beach clean and survey organised by the Marine Conservation Society that has taken place every September since 1993,. During the Beachwatch 2007 event, 7,504 plastic bags were found on 354 beaches around the UK. On average 44 bags were found for every kilometre of coastline surveyed.

Plastic bags ranked number 15 in the top 20 most common litter items recorded, accounting for 2% of all beach li
tter.

In Wales the amount of plastic bags was higher than the UK average, with 887 bags found on 38 beaches amounting to 57 items/km.

Lots more about plastic marine trash in the UK right here

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Everlasting Litter

Because plastic is so cheap we use it for just about everything. The world’s annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today. (WRAP) and much of that has been used to make disposable packaging and products. It is cheaper to give away a new cup every time then to collect and wash re-useables. Supermarkets can afford to give out bags so that shoppers need not limit their purchases. Fast food outlets can serve food to go in throwaway containers with one use cutlery.

in the UK  we generate 3 million tonnes of plastic waste annually 56% of which is used packaging, three-quarters of which is from households. (waste on-line)

Because plastic is a synthetic substance, it doesn’t biodegrade. While every other thing on the planet is decomposing most plastic remains unchanged.

Here’s how long it takes for some commonly used natural products to biodegrade, when they are scattered about as litter:

Paper ~ 2-5 months
Cotton rags ~ 1-5 month
Natural fiber rope ~ 3-14 months
Orange peel ~6 months
Wool socks ~1 to 5 years
Leather shoes ~25 to 40 years
Tin cans ~ 50 to 100 years

But because plastic  is man-made, the natural enzymes and the micro organisms responsible for breaking down organic substances do not recognize most plastics – whether they are derived from oil or plants. Find out more here.

Which means it cannot be composted, or left to rot where it is dropped, like organic rubbish.

Plastic Litter

Every bit of plastic litter HAS TO BE PICKED UP and specially disposed of, which doesn’t always happen, is expensive to do and each disposal method has its drawbacks. Burning plastic can release extremely toxic chemicals so has to be done with care, put it in landfills and it just sits there and recycling is not always an option nor is it always cost-effective.

Worse still we use plastic for fast food packaging, sweet wrappers and disposable cups – things that are used for minutes before being discarded. Things that end up as litter. Because it is made out of plastic, and has a life span of decades, it is now everlasting litter.  Not suprisingly plastic litter is increasing exponentially and with dreadful consequences.

Visit our FB  gallery of world-wide plastic pollution to see more.

 

 



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Down The Drain…..

Where does all this plastic trash come from? Well dirty litter droppers get most of the blame and they are responsible for much of it – except of course when they aren’t.

These men were trying to transfer some polystyrene peanuts, a packaging material, from one box to another.A strong wind blew up and peanuts blew everywhere.

Here they are bouncing down the street……..

along the kerb….

up to the grid….

down the storm drain.

This being Istanbul, it wont be long before they are washed out into the Bosporus and so out to sea …

That’s one way plastic escapes out into the environment. Being non-biodegradable, once out there it will be around for some time looking ugly, working its way into the food chain, releasing poisons and posing a threat to wild life.

Plastic trash has been implicated in the deaths of all these animals

Polystyrene is just gross – you can find out more here …..