Ocean Currents » Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:22:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 A Fashionable Way to Combat Ocean Plastic Pollution http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/06/08/a-fashionable-way-to-combat-ocean-plastic-pollution/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/06/08/a-fashionable-way-to-combat-ocean-plastic-pollution/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2016 15:00:04 +0000 Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12219

There’s no doubt about it: ocean plastic pollution is a big problem. An estimated eight million metric tons of plastic waste flow from land into the ocean every year, meaning that by 2025 there could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish! And there’s much more to the problem than floating bags, bottles and fishing nets—as many as 51 trillion pieces of microplastic (plastic pieces less than five mm) now circulate in the ocean.

Big problems call for creative solutions. To truly make an impact in the problem of ocean plastic pollution, we have to attack it from multiple directions. This includes minimizing the amount of plastic waste we create, managing our waste to prevent plastic pollution from leaking into the ocean and mitigating the existing marine debris through active cleanup and restoration efforts.

Ocean Conservancy has been fighting back against ocean plastic pollution for the past 30 years. Last year alone, more than 18 million pounds of trash—equivalent to the weight of over 100 Boeing 737s—was collected by nearly 800,000 volunteers during our 2015 International Coastal Cleanup.

Fortunately, we’re not the only ones worried about ocean plastic pollution. Socially conscious enterprises are developing innovative solutions to bring attention to this immense problem and create financial incentives for keeping plastic debris out of the ocean.

One standout is eyewear company Norton Point, which is launching a new line of sunglasses that will be made from ocean-bound plastics collected, in partnership with The Plastic Bank, from communities and beaches where plastic waste is overrunning local capacity to manage it. Creative efforts like this help bring attention to the growing problem of plastic debris while expanding the market for recycled plastics. With their new line, Norton Point is creating greater economic incentives to clean our beaches.

We’re happy to be Norton Point’s charitable partner for their Ocean Plastic Collection. Norton Point will reinvest 5% of net profits from this line back into improving global clean-up efforts and toward stemming the tide against ocean plastic.

Business models like this just go to show that there are many ways to join in the fight against ocean plastic pollution. Whether it’s skipping the straw, joining a local cleanup or buying a pair of recycled, ocean-plastic sunglasses; every sustainable choice helps move us towards a healthier, happier ocean.

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Entangled, Eaten, Contaminated http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/01/12/entangled-eaten-contaminated/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/01/12/entangled-eaten-contaminated/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2016 20:00:22 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11230

A comprehensive assessment of trash on marine wildlife 

There is a vast sea of trash in our oceans. For the first time, we now have a comprehensive picture of the toll it is taking on seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals.

A new study in Marine Policy by scientists at Ocean Conservancy and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) mapped impacts ranging from entanglement, ingestion and chemical contamination of the 20 most commonly found ocean debris like fishing gear, balloons, plastic bottles and bags and a range of other plastic garbage found regularly in the ocean. Our research was based on elicitation, a widely-used technique to rigorously quantify the professional judgement of a community of experts, representing 19 fields of study.

The Results

  • Lost or abandoned fishing gear like nets, lines, traps and buoys pose the greatest overall threat to all types of marine wildlife, primarily through entanglement.
  • Consumer plastics were not far behind. Plastic bags emerged as the second most impactful item for marine wildlife. Plastic cutlery also was highly impactful. Experts highlighted the tendency of animals like sea turtles to mistake these items for food and eat them.
  • Paper bags and glass bottles were assessed to be the most benign marine debris.

Seeking Solutions

This study underscores the need to go beyond a product-by-product approach to reducing plastics impacts in the ocean. Consider the sheer volume of it—upwards of 8 million tons each year flow into the ocean according to a report from earlier this year.

The biggest takeaway from our report is that our strategies must encompass regional improvement in waste management systems and global changes in policy as well as local actions like changing consumer behavior and eliminating particularly problematic products. And much like the findings from our study, no single entity alone can solve our ocean plastics problem. It requires collective action from individuals and NGOs, to governments and the private sector to stem the tide of plastics from entering the ocean in the first place.

What We’re Doing

For the past three decades, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup has documented the most persistent and proliferating forms of ocean trash on beaches and in waterways around the world. Without fail, the most common items encountered year after year are those disposable plastics we use in our everyday lives—like plastic bags, beverage bottles and food wrappers.

We are working hard to solve this problem. We are a proud and active member of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, an innovative approach to confronting the threat of derelict fishing gear on marine species.

And Ocean Conservancy is also leading a powerful alliance to unite industry, science and conservation leaders under a common goal for a healthy ocean free of trash. Members of the Trash Free Seas Alliance® are working together to confront plastic inputs from the regions that matter most while they seek to reduce and reinvent products and services that damage ocean wildlife or ecosystems.

We also work with people like you—ocean lovers who recognize the importance of keeping our oceans trash free. Your choices really do matter to the future of our ocean.

Want to take a deeper dive? Read more here.

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The 2014 International Coastal Cleanup Data Are In http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/05/19/the-2014-international-coastal-cleanup-data-are-in/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/05/19/the-2014-international-coastal-cleanup-data-are-in/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 12:18:20 +0000 Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10198

Another year, another incredible volunteer effort—I’m excited to share with you today the findings from last year’s International Coastal Cleanup. In 2014, more than 560,000 people picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash along nearly 13,000 miles of coastlines. Thank you to all the volunteers, Coordinators and partners who participated and devoted countless hours and resources!

Last year’s Cleanup had the largest weight of trash collected during any Ocean Conservancy Cleanup since its inception 29 years ago. Volunteers from 91 countries gathered detailed information from their Cleanups to provide a snapshot of the most persistent forms of trash found along the beaches and waterways that’s impacting our ocean.

This data represents what was found at the 29th Cleanup – each and every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step up to meet the challenge and help clean up the beaches and waterways in their communities. There’s no doubt in my mind – as the Cleanup report will show you – the unparalleled effort of volunteers around the world results in cleaner beaches, rivers and lakes for all to enjoy.

In order to truly achieve a world with trash free seas though, Ocean Conservancy is expanding its work beyond just Cleanups. We’re working with corporations, scientists, government and other nonprofit organizations to stop the flow of trash at the source, before it has a chance to reach the ocean to entangle dolphins or endanger sea turtles, or ruin our beaches and depress local economies. Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance is one such example, working to identify ways to augment waste collection and management in countries where plastic inputs into the ocean are currently greatest. With improved waste collection comes improved health and sanitation that benefits everyone – and the ocean.

Trash jeopardizes the health of the ocean, coastline, economy and people. It’s in our ocean and waterways and on our beaches—but, it is entirely preventable.

A recent publication in the journal Science shows that approximately eight million metric tons of plastic are entering our ocean annually. We know this input of unnatural material into the ocean is detrimental to wildlife and habitats – animals ingest it and can get entangled in it; it litters our beaches and waterways; and costs communities hundreds of millions of dollars.

If we take action now though, we can stem this tide of plastic pollution for future generations. There is no silver bullet. Everyone is part of the solution:  industry, governments, and other NGOs. And the first step is bringing the most influential players to the table, which is exactly what Ocean Conservancy is doing.

The American Chemistry Council represents some of the world’s largest producers of plastic. We’d like them to acknowledge that plastic in the ocean is a BIG problem AND agree to come to the table with Ocean Conservancy and other industry leaders to engage in an open dialog to pursue real solutions for preventing plastics from reaching the ocean.

Take Action Now: Tell the American Chemistry Council to be part of the solution.

I’m hopeful that together, we can make a difference!

And, don’t forget about this year’s Cleanup! Please mark you calendars and save the date. We’d love it if you could join us for the 2015 Cleanup on September 19. We need more volunteers than ever to join our movement and make a bigger difference.

Here are five things you can do:

    • Be a part of the next International Coastal Cleanup, scheduled for September 19. www.signuptocleanup.org
    • Reduce your purchases of single-use disposable goods. Going reusable ensures throwaway plastics never have the chance to make it to beaches, waterways, or the ocean.
    • Take action and tell the American Chemistry Council to be part of the solution.
    • Check out our Cleanup report!
    • And, really check out the infographics from our Cleanup report and share them with your friends on social media.
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Did You Miss Our Ocean Google Hangout? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/05/22/did-you-miss-our-ocean-google-hangout/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/05/22/did-you-miss-our-ocean-google-hangout/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 14:26:53 +0000 Michelle Frey http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8359 As part of the launch campaign for the 2014 Trash Free Seas Data Report, Ocean Conservancy hosted its first-ever Google Hangout! In case you missed it, the broadcast has been archived to our YouTube page here:

And don’t forget to check out the full report on our website.

More about the Ocean Google Hangout:

Trash has infiltrated all reaches of our ocean, causing negative impacts on ocean life and coastal communities. The problem can seem overwhelming, but it is preventable. Ocean Conservancy held a conversation about trash and the ocean. We talked about the ‘just-released’ findings from Ocean Conservancy’s 2013 International Coastal Cleanup. And we heard from a leading scientist and waste management expert about where the solutions to this problem lie. Watch the video and you’ll learn what we’ve discovered, what does it all means and what we can do next?

Moderator:

George Leonard is Chief Scientist at Ocean Conservancy. A long-time scuba diver, George has worked on a range of ocean-related issues including marine debris, sustainable seafood and marine protected areas. During his graduate work, he logged over 400 dives in 3 years studying California’s kelp forests, the undersea equivalent of tropical rain forests.

Speakers:

Nick Mallos is a Conservation Biologist and Marine Debris Specialist at Ocean Conservancy. His travels take him around the world, showing him the final resting place of trash generated by our disposable culture. Nick’s work is designed to help people around the globe work to protect our blue planet. He is also an avid surfer and works hard to catch a wave wherever his travels take him.

Chelsea Rochman has her BS in Biology from UCSD and recently received her PhD in Marine Ecology from UC Davis and San Diego State in 2013. She is currently researching the fate and toxicity of plastic debris in freshwater and marine habitats. Specifically, her expertise is in the sorption of priority pollutants (pesticides, trace metals, flame retardants, and plastic additives) to plastic debris and from plastic debris in aquatic habitats and the fate and toxicity of this debris in marine organisms. In addition to researching plastic debris in coastal habitats, she has experience researching debris in the North Pacific Gyre and the South Atlantic Gyre as part of separate research cruises.

Ted Siegler has 40 years of experience working on solid waste management issues. He served for 15 years as Technical Consultant to the American Plastics Council on increasing the recovery of plastics for recycling, and has spent the past 20 years working on capacity building for local and central governments in 14 countries around the world. Ted specializes in recycling collection and processing, economic analysis, and municipal finance and has been with DSM Environmental Services, Inc. since 1987. DSM specializes in waste reduction and recycling issues for municipal and state governments.

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This was our top tweet of the week and it’s no wonder why–finding out that over one third of a given sample of fish have plastic in their bellies is downright creepy. This study by Plymouth University and the UK Marine Biological Association illustrates the tangible effects that trash has on our ocean. If you’re looking for ways to lessen your impact and to keep the ocean healthy, try downloading our mobile app, Rippl. You’ll get weekly ocean-friendly tips and be able to track your progress!

2. Welcome to the Plastic Beach

While this isn’t nearly as enjoyable as the Gorillaz song “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach,” news about the amount of plastic at Kamilo Point in Hawaii certainly gave it a realistic perspective in the Twittersphere this week. Our expert Nick Mallos reported that the so-called “Junk Beach” was the most plastic-laden one he’s ever seen–and that’s after 240,000 lbs. of microplastics have been removed by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund since 2003.

3. Skip the Landfill–Donate Instead!

Our five suggestions for donating those random things hanging around your home that you’ll never use resonated well with our followers, ranking third on our top tweets list this week. Another helpful addition (courtesy of one of our Facebook friends): donate your time!

4. Forget About Last Year’s Tsunami? The Ocean Hasn’t

Our field guide for tsunami debris tells you what the most common forms of debris are–and what you should do if and when you find it.

5. Colorful Corals–But Why?

This tweet got a lot of attention largely because it asks a question we’ve all probably wondered at one point or another, but never really knew the answer. In this case, there’s more to beauty than meets the eye!

As always, we’ll be tweeting on a daily basis from @OurOcean, so make sure to follow us for all the latest ocean news, Ocean Conservancy blog posts, fun trivia and more!

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