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News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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Plastic Pollution is Threatening the Arctic

Posted On April 26, 2017 by

Scientists are learning more about the threats microplastics pose to our ocean. Photo credit: NOAA

Last week, a new study published in in the journal Science Advances found that the Arctic Ocean is accumulating high concentrations of plastics―specifically in the Greenland and Barents seas. I wanted to share with you why this study is so alarming, what it means for the health of the ocean and how you can help. Here are five things you need to know from the new study. 

The trash traveled a long way

The accumulation of plastic in the Arctic region is almost certainly not caused by local populations. Instead, it’s carried in from distant regions by currents in the Atlantic Ocean—a sort of “plastic conveyor belt,” as the researchers put it—which culminates in Arctic waters.  Researchers found that the Arctic plastic was tiny, weathered and aged, indicating that it had been traveling the seas for decades, fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces along the way. The study didn’t document much plastic in the Arctic Ocean beyond the Greenland and Barents seas, again suggesting that currents—or the ‘conveyer belt’—carried the debris to Arctic waters.

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Support Research to Stop Ocean Pollution

Posted On April 3, 2017 by

Science does not lie. It’s unbiased and based on what is. And the science shows there’s no doubt about it: ocean pollution is a big problem.

Scientists have recorded nearly 700 species of marine wildlife that have been affected by marine debris. With an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic waste entering the ocean every year from land, that means marine species will be living in an ocean that could contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish by 2025!

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Our Next Wave in Tackling Marine Debris

Posted On February 14, 2017 by

Trash and plastic waste is unfortunately everywhere in our ocean. From our coasts to the Arctic, to the deepest part of the ocean, marine debris is a growing, global problem. Without concerted efforts to combat marine debris now, the volume of plastic waste entering our ocean will only grow.

Roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter our ocean each year. Most of that is trash that is never collected, but instead is thrown into city streets or rural areas, or even directly into our rivers and seas. Clearly, the lack of effective waste management is one of the greatest challenges we face in tackling this global issue. Our research in 2015 revealed that if key countries in Asia Pacific improve their waste management, we could halve the flow of plastic into our ocean by 2025. Good waste management—including effectively picking up and sorting trash—is also essential for a future in which waste can be recovered and repurposed. Effective waste management can also deliver public health, economic development and climate benefits. But, what can we do to ensure this becomes reality?

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Preventing Marine Debris, One Straw at a Time

Posted On November 28, 2016 by

Over the past several weeks, Ocean Conservancy has received a wave of 2016 International Coastal Cleanup data. Thanks to volunteers from Idaho to Indonesia, data from the 2016 ICC and the Clean Swell app are pouring into our new ocean trash database. The trash by the numbers provides us with a year-by-year snapshot of the top items that plague our waterways and coastlines.

Lately, there’s been some buzz around one top ocean trash item in particular: plastic straws (over 211,000 already logged!). With a debris item that is so easily preventable, and a host of alternatives out there, individuals, organizations and whole communities are now taking action. The most recent success story: Chiles Restaurant Group of Anna Maria, Florida.

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Inspired and Connected for Trash Free Seas

Posted On November 22, 2016 by

As we ease into the holiday season, I am grateful to have been part of an amazing event halfway around the world where I witnessed the positive energy and impact that can only arise when we work together. It was a powerful reminder of how our ocean brings us together.

As part of the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, I went to Hong Kong for our first-ever International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Asia Pacific coordinators meeting. As you may know, the International Coastal Cleanup is the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean and collectively, partners from around the world have kept 100 million tons of trash out of our ocean in the past three decades.  The Asia Pacific region is where much of the world’s ocean trash originates, and Ocean Conservancy was eager to learn from our partners on the front lines.

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Meet Keila: A 5th Grader with a Passion for the Ocean

Posted On September 27, 2016 by

By Megan Swanson

Keila reached out to Ocean Conservancy concerned about the pollution plaguing our ocean and eager to make a difference. Growing up alongside the Pacific Ocean, she developed a deep respect for the ocean and its inhabitants from an early age and considers it as part of her home. After learning more about the problem of ocean trash in one of her classes, she decided to take action. This summer, she delivered cookies and talked with friends and family to bring awareness to the issue while raising money for Ocean Conservancy. Keila also participated in the 31st annual International Coastal Cleanup on September 17th at her local beach in California. I had the privilege to talk to Keila about why she loves the ocean and what drove her to do this work.

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