Government drops opposition to Bill banning microplastics

The Government has reversed a decision to oppose a Labour Party Bill banning the use of microplastics and microbeads in personal care items including scrubs, soaps, lotions and toothpastes.

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney had originally planned to reject the Prohibition of microplastics Bill on the grounds that it could place Ireland in breach of EU Treaty articles on the free movement of goods and that it was flawed in definitions, enforcement and its “level of ambition”.

But in the Dáil on Thursday he told the Bill’s author, Cork East Labour TD Seán Sherlock, that the Government would not oppose the legislation but would probably abstain and allow it to proceed on the basis that “if and when we produce the Government’s legislative response to this whether in the foreshore Bill or in a separate piece of legislation after the work that needs to be done first”. (…) (irishtimes.com, 4/05/2017)

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Freshwater’s macro microplastic problem

Like in the oceans, the bulk of the pollution in rivers and lakes is not in the form of plastic bottles and other large pieces, but tiny pieces called microplastics that would be hard to spot. “Three quarters of what we take out of the Great Lakes are less than a millimeter in size,” she says. “It’s basically the size of a period of a sentence.” These plastics are concerning to scientists because they are being ingested by a variety of aquatic organisms. (…) (pbs.org, 11/05/2017)

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Online Portal for Marine Litter (AWI-LITTERBASE)

Large amounts of litter have accumulated across all parts of our oceans in less than fifty years. Litter has thus become a serious threat to the marine environment, aquatic life and humankind, whose welfare is closely linked with ocean health. Research on marine litter is currently taking a great leap forward and has substantially increased our knowledge of the amount and composition of litter as well as its impacts on the marine environment, aquatic life and people. However, the sheer number of studies scattered all around the globe has rendered this topic increasingly intangible making it difficult for policy makers, public authorities, media and the general public to unearth important information needed to address the urgent questions. LITTERBASE summarises results from 1,320 scientific studies in understandable global maps and figures and opens scientific knowledge on marine litter to the public. (AWI-LITTERBASE)

Video captures moment plastic enters food chain

A scientist has filmed the moment plastic microfibre is ingested by plankton, illustrating how the material is affecting life beneath the waves.
The footage shows one way that waste plastic could be entering the marine and global food chain. An estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic “disappears” from the world’s waste stream each year. Waste plastic in the world’s seas has been recognised by the United Nations as a major environmental problem. (…) (Dr R. Kirby, bbc.com, 11/03/2017)

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Sea turtle found with 30 pieces of plastic in its stomach is released

A sea turtle, that had plastic in its belly, was released back into the Atlantic Ocean Wednesday.

“Humbug”, a loggerhead sea turtle, was found in the Sebastian Inlet on December 14 before and was brought to the Brevard Zoo, according to the Zoo’s post on Facebook.

When tests were run on Humbug, 30 pieces of plastic were found inside her stomach, WKMG reported. (…) (mypalmbeachpost.com, 21/04/2017)

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Microplastics in our environment: A conversation with Odile Madden, Smithsonian plastics scientist

Odile Madden knows a lot about plastic. A materials scientist with the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, she has spent the past eight years studying plastics artifacts in the Smithsonian collections. Plastics are found in all the collections of the Smithsonian’s museums now, and the long-term stability of many of these artifacts is questionable and uncertain. Madden’s job is to study that instability in an attempt to extend the lifetimes of these objects. (…) (insider.si.edu, 20/03/2017)

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