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Plastic Debris is Contributing to the Potential Extinction of Endangered Marine Species – February 23, 2015

Threatened or near threatened species make up 17% of all marine animals impacted by manmade debris, says report

A few days ago, I wrote about a study quantifying the ginormous amount of plastic debris that’s making its way into our oceans every year. (In case you haven’t heard it yet, 9 million tons of plastic is expected to end at sea this year, and researchers say the trash will likely increase tenfold over the next decade.) Now yet another study, which attempts to quantify how much of sea life is impacted by stuff we throw away, says this flotsam is contributing to the potential extinction of some already endangered marine species.

seal entangled in fishing netPhoto courtesy of NOAA Marine Debris Programmore

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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9 Million Tons of Plastic Waste WIll End Up in Our Oceans in 2015, Says New Study – February 12, 2015

Researchers warn that the trash could increase more than tenfold in the next decade

We’ve all heard about the great Pacific garbage patch and other huge swirls of plastic trash floating around in our world’s oceans damaging marine ecosystems and sea creatures. But what’s not been clear is  just how much more plastic is making its way from land to sea every year. Now we have an estimate.

 A new study in the February 13 issue of the journal Science calculates that about 8 million tons of plastic waste wound up in the world's oceans in 2010 — equal to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.

plastic trash in oceanPhoto by… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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10 Million Gallons of ‘Missing Oil’ from 2010 BP Spill Found on Gulf Sea Floor – February 4, 2015

Oil sediments will contaminate the food web for years to come, scientists say

The April 2010 blowout of BP’s Macondo well spilled more than 200 million gallons of crude oil across an area of around 68,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico. Much of this oil was removed using various cleanup measures, including skimming and mopping it off the sea surface, burnings of concentrated slicks, and applications of the dispersant COREXIT. But several million gallons of the spilled crude simply disappeared. Clean up crews were unable to locate it.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill SitePhoto by Green Fire ProductionsDay 30 of Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The new study by Florida State University… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Sandra the Orangutan is a Person, Rules Argentine Court – December 22, 2014

In landmark judgment, court says that the 28-year-old Great Ape has the right to be free

Sandra, a 28-year-old orangutan who lives in a zoo in Buenos Aires, Argentina is now the first animal to be legally recognized as a person.

In a landmark judgment last Friday, an appeals court in Argentina declared that the Sumatran orangutan, who has been held captive at the zoo for 20 years, should be recognized as a nonhuman person with the right to freedom. The court ruled that Sandra, who was born in captivity in Germany in 1986, be released to an animal sanctuary in Brazil where she can live out the rest of her life in relative freedom. (Since she was born in captivity, Sandra doesn’t have the skills… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Baja’s Iconic Surf Spot is Under Threat – December 12, 2014

Surfers and environmentalists have launched a campaign to have the San Miguel beach and watershed protected as a state park

San Miguel in Baja, California, is said to be where the first wave was surfed in all of Mexico. The area also contains one of the last intact riparian corridors in all of northern Baja — the San Miguel watershed.  This critical riparian ecosystem leads up to the beach, bringing with it sand and rocks that pile up and create a rock land formation that provides perfect conditions for a classic, long wave that wraps around the beach. The waves draw thousands of surfers to the area every year.

San Miguel BeachPhoto by courtesy of Surfing for ChangeThe San Miguel watershed leads up to the… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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