Deep Dives
Thought-provoking research providing extensive learning opportunities

A Sea of Plastics Claims and Credits: Steering Stakeholders Towards Impact

The Circulate Initiative Plastics & Pollution

As more companies and governments make commitments to address plastic pollution, several plastic offset claims and credit schemes have emerged.

We reviewed the current landscape of standards, certifications and credit programs to assess the strengths and weaknesses of current programs and whether they are equipped to help buyers meet their impact objectives.

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Plastics 101: Blue Economy Opportunities and Considerations to Reduce Ocean  Plastics

Vanessa Fajans-Turner Plastics & Pollution

Plastics are the most common form of marine debris. They originate with a variety of land and ocean-based sources across industries; enter the water in many ways; and negatively impact the ocean and Great Lakes. Once in the water, plastic debris never fully biodegrades.

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Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad

President Joseph R. Biden Jr., The White House Energy Solutions Fisheries & Aquaculture Plastics & Pollution Shipping & Ports Tourism

The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis. We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents.

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Marine unProtected Areas: A case for a just transition to ban bottom trawl and dredge fishing in offshore Marine Protected Areas

Frith Dunkley & Jean-Luc Solandt, Marine Conservation Society Energy Solutions Fisheries & Aquaculture Plastics & Pollution

The study examined fishing effort in all Marine Protected Areas (Special Areas of Conservation, Marine Conservation Zones and nature conservation Marine Protected Areas, hereafter collectively referred to as MPAs) in UK offshore waters (beyond 12 nautical miles) designated to protect the seabed, and the implications for biodiversity recovery and carbon storage.

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China’s plastic import ban increases prospects of environmental impact mitigation of plastic waste trade flow worldwide

Zongguo W. et al., Nature Communications Plastics & Pollution Shipping & Ports

Since the late 1990s, the trend of plastic waste shipment from developed to developing countries has been increasing. In 2017, China announced an unprecedented ban on its import of most plastic waste, resulting in a sharp decline in global plastic waste trade flow and changes in the treatment structure of countries, whose impacts on global environmental sustainability are enormous but yet unexamined.

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Seagrasses provide a novel ecosystem service by trapping marine plastics

Anna Sanchez-Vidal et al., Scientific Reports, Nature Energy Solutions Fisheries & Aquaculture Plastics & Pollution

There is strong evidence that the seafloor constitutes a final sink for plastics from land sources. There is also evidence that part of the plastics lying on the shallow seafloor are washed up back to the shoreline. However, little is known on the natural trapping processes leading to such landwards return.

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Exposure of coastal environments to river-sourced plastic pollution

P.T. Harris et al., Science of the Total Environment - Elsevier Plastics & Pollution

Marine litter is a global problem which poses an increasing threat to ecosystem services, human health, safety and sustainable livelihoods. In order to better plan plastic pollution monitoring and clean-up activities, and to develop policies and programmes to deter and mitigate plastic pollution, information is urgently needed on the dif-ferent types of coastal ecosystem that are impacted by land-sourced plastic inputs, especially those located inproximity to river mouths where plastic waste is discharged into the ocean.

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Pervasive distribution of polyester fibres in the Arctic Ocean is driven by Atlantic inputs

Peter S. Ross, et al., Nature Plastics & Pollution

Microplastics are increasingly recognized as ubiquitous global contaminants, but questions linger regarding their source, transport and fate. We document the widespread distribution of microplastics in near-surface seawater from 71 stations across the European and North American Arctic - including the North Pole.

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Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution

The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ Plastics & Pollution

“Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution” presents a first-of-its-kind model of the global plastics system. It is an evidence-based roadmap that describes how to radically reduce ocean plastic pollution by 2040 and that shows there is a comprehensive, integrated, and economically attractive pathway to greatly reduce plastic waste entering our ocean.

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Airborne microplastic particles detected in the remote marine atmosphere

Miri Trainic, et al., Nature Plastics & Pollution

The ubiquity of AMP from terrestrial sources, and the ubiquity of MP in the world’s oceans raise the question whether AMP are present in the remote marine atmosphere. We searched for marine AMP during the Tara Pacific expedition, a 2.5 year research project that investigates coral reefs and plankton communities.

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Water pollution by plastics and microplastics: A review of technical solutions from source to sea

IWMI and CGIAR, UN Environment Programme Plastics & Pollution

From source to sea, our waters are contaminated by a plastics scourge. A new study by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) offers a number of technological solutions aimed at tackling one of the world’s most pressing issues.

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Amazon’s Plastic Problem Revealed

Oceana Plastics & Pollution

How Amazon is flooding our communities, environment, and oceans with hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic packaging and how they can stop.

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NOAA Report on the U.S. Marine Economy

Office for Coastal Management, NOAA Energy Solutions Fisheries & Aquaculture Plastics & Pollution Shipping & Ports Tourism

These reports examine the critically important economic contributions of the oceans and Great Lakes to the marine economy of the United States. 

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Global human-made mass exceeds all living biomass

Emily Elhacham et al., Nature Plastics & Pollution Shipping & Ports Tourism

Here we quantify the human-made mass, referred to as ‘anthropogenic mass’, and compare it to the overall living biomass on Earth, which currently equals approximately 1.1 teratonnes. 

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Synthesis of 14C-labelled polystyrene nanoplastics for environmental studies

Maya Al-Sid-Cheikh et al., Nature: Communications Material Plastics & Pollution

Available analytical methods cannot detect nanoplastics at environmentally realistic concentrations in complex matrices such as biological tissues. Here, we describe a one-step polymerization method, allowing direct radiolabeling of a sulfonate end-capped nano-sized polystyrene (nPS; proposed as a model nanoplastic particle representing negatively charged nanoplastics).

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Plastic pollution is killing marine megafauna, but how do we prioritize policies to reduce mortality?

Lauren Roman, et al., The Society for Conservation Biology Plastics & Pollution

Pollution by plastic and other debris is a problem affecting the world's oceans and is increasing through time. The problem is so large that prioritizing solutions to effect meaningful change may seem overwhelming to the public and policy makers.

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Human Health and Ocean Pollution

Philip J. Landrigan et al., Annals of Global Health Plastics & Pollution

The purpose of this review is to examine the impacts of ocean pollution on human health and well-being, identify gaps in knowledge, project future trends, and offer scientifically based guidance for effective interventions.

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Message in a bottle: Open source technology to track the movement of plastic pollution

Emily M. Duncan et al., Plos One Plastics & Pollution

Here we undertook a proof of concept study by applying open source tracking technology (both GPS (Global Positing System) cellular networks and satellite technology), which have been successfully used in many animal movement studies, to track the movements of individual plastic litter items (500 ml PET (polyethylene terephthalate) drinks bottles) through the Ganges River system (known as the Ganga in India and the Padma and Meghna in Bangladesh, hereafter known as the Ganges) and the Bay of Bengal.

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The Brand Audit Report 2020

Multiple Authors, Break Free From Plastic Plastics & Pollution

BRANDED Volume III: Demanding Corporate Accountability for Plastic Pollution” is out, revealing the Top 10 Corporate Plastic Polluters of 2020.

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Ocean Solutions That Benefit People, Nature and the Economy

Martin R. Stuchtey et al., The Ocean Panel Energy Solutions Fisheries & Aquaculture Plastics & Pollution Shipping & Ports Tourism

This report lays out the contours of a new relationship between the ocean and humanity. Building on the latest scientific research, analyses and debates from around the world, the report showcases a balanced model for ocean management that simultaneously achieves effective ocean protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity.

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