Hawaii’s newest black sand beach already contains plastic pollution

Only a year ago, streams of lava gurgled from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, blocking roads and inching across fields. It eventually reached the ocean where the intensely hot lava hit cold seawater and burst into tiny shards of glass and rubble: brand new sand.Today’sPopular StoriesAnimalsFormer pet parrots breeding and thriving in 23 U.S. statesExploration & AdventureTraffic jams are just one of the problems facing climbers on EverestScience & InnovationWill Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites harm astronomy? Here’s what we know.Eventually, new beaches formed, like Pohoiki, a black sand beach that stretches for 1,000 feet on Hawaii’s Big Island. Scientists based in the area aren’t sure if the beach formed quickly after the volcano began erupting in May 2018 or slowly as the lava began to simmer down in August, but based on samples taken from the newborn beach, they know it’s already polluted—covered with hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic. (…)

National Geographic, 30/05/2019

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Tara repart à la chasse aux plastiques

La goélette scientifique Tara a remis les voiles, ce lundi 27 mai. Le navire a quitté le ponton de la Cité de la voile, à Lorient La Base, vers 10 h 30, sous le regard de quelques badauds. Tara entame sa 12e expédition, une mission de six mois à travers l’Europe, sur la piste des microplastiques. Initialement prévu ce jeudi 23 mai, le départ de Tara avait été différé de quelques jours, suite à un problème technique. À bord, cinq marins et dix scientifiques. (…)

« La mission Microplastiques 2019 va contribuer à la recherche fondamentale, comme l’ensemble des expéditions Tara, mais celle-ci comporte un enjeu sociétal fort, dont toutes les générations doivent s’emparer à présent pour changer notre rapport aux ressources, à leur préservation et, à très court terme, de changer de mode de consommation, de production », rappelle Romain Troublé, le directeur général de la fondation Tara Océan.

Mer et Marine, 28/05/2019

Biodegradable bags can hold a full load of shopping three years after being discarded in the environment

Biodegradable plastic bags are still capable of carrying full loads of shopping after being exposed in the natural environment for three years, a new study shows.Researchers from the University of Plymouth examined the degradation of five plastic bag materials widely available from high street retailers in the UK.They were then left exposed to air, soil and sea, environments which they could potentially encounter if discarded as litter.The bags were monitored at regular intervals, and deterioration was considered in terms of visible loss in surface area and disintegration as well as assessments of more subtle changes in tensile strength, surface texture and chemical structure.After nine months in the open air, all the materials had completely disintegrated into fragments.However, the biodegradable, oxo-biodegradable and conventional plastic formulations remained functional as carrier bags after being in the soil or the marine environment for over three years. (University of Plymouth, Alan Williams,

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EU finally seals ban on single-use plastics by 2021

Parliament approved a new law on Wednesday, banning throwaway plastics such as cotton bud sticks, cutlery, straws, stirrers and plates.According to the European Commission, more than 80 per cent of marine litter is plastics. Plastic residue is found in many marine species such as fish and shell fish and thus is present in the human food chain.The new law banning single-use plastics will come into force across all EU member states by 2021 and will help to reduce the plastic waste that currently pollutes our oceans and beaches.560 MEPs voted in favour of the agreement with EU ministers, 35 voted against and 28 abstained. The directive will also ban plastic balloon sticks, single-use polystyrene cups and those made from oxo-degradable plastics (plastics that fragment into tiny pieces).

Source : EU finally seals ban on single-use plastics by 2021 – Climate Action, 28/03/2019

Toxic bacteria found on microplastics around Singapore’s coastline

Toxic bacteria capable of causing coral bleaching and wound infections in humans have been found on microplastics picked up from the Republic’s coastline between April and July 2018.Marine scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) found more than 400 different types of bacteria on 275 pieces of microplastics collected from three beaches – Lazarus Island, Sembawang Beach and Changi Beach.

Straitstimes.com, 11/02/2019

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EU proposes ban on 90% of microplastic pollutants

European Chemicals Agency draft law aims to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution

A wide-ranging ban on microplastics covering about 90% of pollutants has been proposed by the EU in an attempt to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution in 20 years.

Every year, Europe releases a bulk amount of microplastics six times bigger than the “Great Pacific garbage patch” into the environment – the equivalent of 10bn plastic bottles. The phasing out proposed by the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) would remove 36,000 tonnes a year of “intentionally added” microplastic fibres and fragments, starting in 2020. Cosmetics, detergents, paints, polish and coatings would all require design overhauls, as would products in the construction, agriculture and fossil fuels sectors. The draft law targets microplastics that are not necessary but have been added to products by manufacturers for convenience or profit.

The Guardian, 30/01/2019

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