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News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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Different Pole, Same Problem: Plastic Pollution in Antarctica’s Ocean

Posted On April 28, 2017 by

Another study has just come out—revealing that plastic pollution has been discovered in deep-sea sediments and surface waters in the Antarctic marine ecosystem. The similarities between this research and the study I wrote about earlier in the week on plastics in the Arctic are very troubling.

Plastic pollution has now been documented in both Polar Regions on Earth. In addition to being the most remote, least populated areas on the planet, the Arctic and Antarctic are critically sensitive regions, currently being affected by increasing water temperatures and decreasing sea ice due to climate change.

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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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Ocean Trash: It’s Not OK

Posted On February 21, 2017 by

“It’s not ok to destroy our ocean. It’s not one person’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem.” — Kelly Slater, world champion surfer and Outerknown founder

Kelly Slater knows something about a healthy ocean. As an 11-time World Surf League Champion, Slater has spent countless hours in marine environments all over the world and seen how beautiful—and damaged—the ocean can be. He has seen first-hand the massive amounts of marine debris and plastic that end up in our ocean, threatening wildlife from whales to plankton. And that, says Slater, is not OK.

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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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Thanks for a Fantastic International Coastal Cleanup!

Posted On September 20, 2016 by

Thank YOU! This weekend, we wrapped up another spectacular International Coastal Cleanup. Thank you so much to all of our volunteers and supporters who came out to make a difference for our ocean.

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out all over the world to clean up their local beaches and waterways.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in the International Coastal Cleanup. I am so grateful to have allies like you joining me in the fight against marine debris. While beach cleanups alone can’t solve the ocean trash problem, they are an integral piece to the overall solution.

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Join the International Coastal Cleanup

Posted On September 14, 2016 by

Written by Tori Glascock

Does all of this trash talk have you feeling down in the dumps? For 30 years, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), has helped keep trash off our beaches and out of the ocean!

Volunteers from states and territories throughout the U.S. and more than 100 countries come together each year and participate in an ICC event near them. You can sign up to clean up or propose a new cleanup site! Three decades of Cleanups have yielded more than 210 million pounds of trash being collected and saved from polluting our ocean. Over 11.5 million volunteers have covered more than 360,000 miles of coastlines across the world.

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