Plastic Pollution

UN Launches Clean Seas Campaign

cientists say that the equivalent of a dump truck load of plastic is deposited in the world’s oceans every minute, and this quantity will only increase as consumption and population grow, too. By 2050, it’s said there will be more plastic than fish in the seas. The UN writes, “As many as 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy – litter our seas, seriously threatening marine wildlife.”

Pollution reaches the Mariana Trench

The amphipods were contaminated with PCBs — polychlorinated biphenyls — toxic chemicals used for decades in industry, as well as other industrial pollutants known as persistent organic pollutants.

“Every sample we had,” Jamieson says, “had contaminants in it at very high or extraordinarily high levels.”

Balloons that Fall to Earth and Sea

Of the 40 balloons Russ reported, 31 were made of Mylar. This is discouraging, as despite their one-time use, Mylar balloons take a long time to degrade. These balloons were more likely than other balloon types to be found individually and still partially inflated. Rubber balloons, another prevalent balloon type, were more likely to be found deflated or shredded, and often tied together in groups. Many of the reported balloons also had a plastic string attached, creating yet another hazard for marine life.