Baby Poop Has Ten Times More Microplastic in It Than Adult Poop

Infants have an average of 10 times the concentration of a type of microplastic in their poop than adults, a pilot study released Wednesday found. The research, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, follows previous studies reflecting the ubiquity of microplastics—small fibers less than 5 mm in size originating from everyday objects like plastic bottles and polyester clothing and that end up in the planet’s waterways and human guts. Researchers focused on two types of common microplastics—polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polycarbonate (PC)—and measured feces from six infants and 10 adults. They also looked at three samples of newborns’ first waste, which is known as meconium. All were from New York state, and they were all found to have at least one kind of microplastic.

— source | Sep 22, 2021

Nullius in verba

ExxonMobil Lobbyist on Playbook for Plastic

“It’s Just Like on Climate Change”

Greenpeace UK has released additional video clips of its explosive, undercover interview of one of ExxonMobil’s top lobbyists. In these new video segments, Keith McCoy, senior director of federal relations for the oil giant, describes how the company’s playbook for dealing with public outrage over its plastic pollution is “just like on climate change.”

McCoy also reveals that Exxon is linked to PFAS, a substance incorporated in many consumer products that has become notorious as a “forever chemical” because of its durability in the environment and ability to foul water supplies. McCoy describes the company’s efforts to lobby against PFAS regulation “under the guise” of industry front groups — an effort he boasts has succeeded in keeping PFAS from becoming known as “the Exxon Mobil chemical.”

Greenpeace UK’s journalism project, Unearthed, obtained video footage of McCoy, it says, during a May Zoom interview in which it posed as a corporate headhunter. As Rolling Stone previously reported, McCoy boasted of the company’s success in blocking effective climate change regulation in Washington D.C., with the help of “crucial” senators, many of them Democrats.

— source | Tim Dickinson | Jul 2, 2021

Nullius in verba

Just 20 firms behind more than half of single-use plastic waste

Just 20 companies are the source of more than half of all the single-use plastic items thrown away globally. Plastic bottles, food packages and bags are among billions of items that are used once and then thrown away, often ending up in the oceans. The research – carried out by a consortium including the London School of Economics – looked at which companies are at the base of the plastic supply chain and make polymers, the building blocks of all plastics. It names 20 petrochemical companies which it says are the source of 55 per cent of the world’s single-use plastic waste. The companies include ExxonMobil, Dow and Sinopec. The UK comes in fourth, with more than 40kg of plastic waste generated per person per year, the authors state, while Australia is top and the United States second.

US-based ExxonMobil is the biggest producer of single-use plastic, the report says, followed by: Dow, Sinopec, Indorama Ventures, Saudi Aramco, PetroChina, LyondellBasell, Reliance Industries, Braskem, Alpek SA de CV, Borealis, Lotte Chemical, INEOS, Total, Jiangsu Hailun Petrochemical, Far Eastern New Century, Formosa Plastics Corporation, China Energy Investment Group, PTT and China Resources.

— source | 18 May 2021

Nullius in verba

Only 1% of global rivers contribute 80% of riverine plastic pollution to oceans

1000 rivers account for nearly 80% of global riverine plastic emissions into the ocean, according to our study, published in Science Advances. Our model suggests that instead of a handful of large continental rivers contributing the most emissions, a high number of small and medium-sized rivers play a significant role in the influx of plastic from rivers to the ocean. These 1000 rivers can present very different characteristics, including river width, flow dynamics, marine traffic, and urbanization. A wide range of mitigation measures must be applied to these rivers across the globe to substantially decrease the amount of waste entering our oceans from rivers. Our study results are accessible in this interactive map, where you can find and help to address your nearest polluting river. These 1000 rivers account for nearly 80% of global annual emissions, ranging between 0.8 million and 2.7 million metric tons per year, with small urban rivers among the most polluting.

— source | 30 Apr 2021

Nullius in verba

Marine microplastics are now invading the atmosphere

Annual plastic production actually contributes a lesser amount of atmospheric microplastic than plastic discharge from the marine environment, which highlights the role of legacy pollution, according to the study. It’s estimated that about 10 million metric tons of microplastics are emitted into the atmosphere each year, which is similar to the annual amount of anthropogenic black carbon emissions. The potential impacts of atmospheric microplastics on human health and ecosystems are largely unknown, and experts are calling for further research and urgent action to address the issue. microplastics are plastic fragments smaller than 5 millimeters (about a fifth of an inch) but bigger than 1 micron.

— source | 27 Apr 2021

Nullius in verba

Americans May Add Five Times More Plastic to the Oceans Than Thought

The United States contribution to coastal plastic pollution worldwide is significantly larger than previously thought, possibly by as much as five times, according to a study published Friday.

The research, published in Science Advances, is the sequel to a 2015 paper by the same authors. Two factors contributed to the sharp increase: Americans are using more plastic than ever and the current study included pollution generated by United States exports of plastic waste, while the earlier one did not.

The United States, which does not have sufficient infrastructure to handle its recycling demands at home, exports about half of its recyclable waste. Of the total exported, about 88 percent ends up in countries considered to have inadequate waste management.

“When you consider how much of our plastic waste isn’t actually recyclable because it is low-value, contaminated or difficult to process, it’s not surprising that a lot of it ends up polluting the environment,” said the study’s lead author, Kara Lavender Law, research professor of oceanography at Sea Education Association, in a statement.

The study estimates that in 2016, the United States contributed between 1.1 and 2.2 million metric

— source | Veronica Penney | Oct. 30, 2020

Nullius in verba

We Need a Paris Agreement for Plastics

My entry into the ocean plastics crisis began when our organization, SoulBuffalo, ran the first ever activist-to-industry ocean plastics summit in May of 2019. To imagine the summit, picture 165 senior leaders from Coca-Cola, Dow, Greenpeace, the American Chemistry Council, the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and representatives of some of the world’s 15 million informal waste pickers all stuck on a boat together in the middle of the Atlantic Garbage Patch for four days.

These stakeholders have wildly different strategies, visions and objectives. Our mission was to bring them together in the heart of the crisis to ignite new relationships and accelerate action. We snorkeled together in a sea of plastics and hosted boundary-pushing conversations between leaders that don’t usually sit in the same room.

We saw up close the paradox of plastic, part wonder material, part environmental scourge. Lightweight and strong, plastic preserves food like no other material. Yet it breaks down into microplastics and nanoplastics, which can now be found everywhere in the world—from the deepest oceans to our very own bodies.

Every day plastic is flowing into our natural environment at an unprecedented rate—a dump truck’s

— source | Dave Ford | Dec 30, 2020

Nullius in verba

Plastic additives dilute in water and cause another pollution

While it is well-known that plastic in the environment can break down into microplastics, be ingested by humans and other organisms, transfer up the food chain, and cause harm, this is only one part of the picture. Plastics are almost always enriched with additives, which makes them easier to process, more resistant, or more performant. This poses a second problem: when the polymer material is left in an environment for long durations, these additives can easily leach out and contaminate the environment. This is the case with styrene oligomers (SOs), a type of plastic additive commonly found in polystyrene, which have been causing growing concern due to their effects on hormonal disruption and thyroid function.

— source Incheon National University | Dec 14, 2020

Nullius in verba

Which countries are responsible for all that ocean plastic?

Much of the ongoing discussion about the United States’ responsibility to address the plastic pollution crisis — seem to be rooted in a landmark 2015 research paper that, for the first time, attempted to estimate how much ocean-bound plastic pollution was coming from which countries. That study used 2005 World Bank data on per capita waste generation and how much of that waste was plastic to estimate countries’ total plastic waste output in 2010. Based on the authors’ findings, China and five other Asian nations were responsible for most of the 9.4 million tons (8.5 million metric tons) of plastic waste entering the oceans each year. The United States barely made the list of top polluters, clocking in as the 20th biggest contributor to ocean plastic debris.

But new research tells a different story. According to a new study published Friday in the journal Science Advances, the United States is actually a much bigger part of the global plastics problem. In 2016, the U.S. produced more plastic waste than any other country on Earth, and if you take into account illegal dumping, littering, and scrap plastic exports, the country could take the bronze medal for its contributions to marine plastic pollution — lagging only behind India and Indonesia.

One of the major shortcomings of the 2015 paper, explained Nick Mallos, senior director of the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program and one of the new study’s co-authors, was that, after relying on previous estimates that only 2 percent of the United States’ plastic waste was littered, it assumed

— source | Nov 2, 2020

Nullius in verba

Oceans to have more plastic than fish by 2050

The world’s oceans may have more plastic debris than fish by the year 2050, according to a report produced by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and published by the World Economic Forum. The study, released on Tuesday, found that a whopping 32 percent of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems and finds its way into natural ecosystems, including the oceans. Currently, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year – the equivalent of a dump truck of plastic rubbish every minute.

— source | 2016

Nullius in verba