The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Lobster With Pepsi Can 'Tattoo' Embodies Fears About Ocean Waste: Here Are 5 More Examples
By Joe McCarthy
It's safe to say that lobsters aren't a budding new demographic for soda companies.
So why did a lobster recently caught in the waters off Grand Manan, New Brunswick, have part of a Pepsi logo tattooed on its claw?
That's a question that baffled Karissa Lindstrand, the fisherman who spotted the uncanny image during a lobster haul, according to the Guardian. Lindstrand happens to drink up to a dozen Pepsi sodas a day, but she was struck by the image's unusual dimensions.
It was pixelated, she told the Guardian, and far too big to be seen on a soda can—theoretically debunking claims that the lobster grew up in a can. She's not the only one to question how the logo got there. Since the image went viral, it's sparked a debate on how a lobster became an unwitting mascot of a soda giant, the Guardian noted.
Lindstrand, for example, thinks that ink from a piece of paper somehow fused to the lobster's claw.
Each year, an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, which is like emptying a garbage truck of plastic into an ocean every minute.
Because these problems are taking place in the oceans, they're largely out-of-sight. Until, that is, a strange or grotesque image that distills the issue goes viral.
That's what happened with the Pepsi lobster. And that's what happened to these other animals.
1. Turtle With Straw Stuck in Its Nose
Billions of plastic straws are used each day and the vast majority are thrown away, never to be reused. A lot of this waste gets washed into the oceans, where it threatens marine life.
One of these straws got stuck in a sea turtle's nose, causing pain and impairing its breathing.
2. Otter With a Cable Tie Around Its Neck
Cable ties can be hard to loosen if you don't have the right tools or the right knowledge. Otters are probably not savvy enough to manipulate cable ties, so when this otter was spotted with one tied around its neck, it caused concern that the creature was endangered. People feared that either the cable tie could get stuck on something, causing the otter to drown, or it could unintentionally tighten, causing the otter to suffocate.
Either way, the cable tie should never have been in Britain's River Stour in the first place.
3. Turtle Tangled in a Net
WWF / Michael Gunther
When fishing nets are discarded in oceans, they don't stop catching creatures. In fact, up to 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises get entangled and killed by discarded nets each year. The single biggest threat to sea turtles, according to the World Wildlife Fund, is bycatch, including discarded nets.
Many creatures get entangled in nets while they're young and become deformed or injured as the net constrains their growth later in life.
This turtle was severely entangled but was lucky enough to be cut free.
4. Birds Feeding on Plastic Waste
As the world's oceans get simultaneously plumbed of fish and filled with plastic, many creatures that depend on oceans for food eat plastic waste by mistake.
While David Attenborough's "Blue Planet II" team was filming, they captured a sad sight—a bird feeding its young a piece of plastic.
Birds throughout the world die from consuming plastic because it can clog their stomachs or leach poisons into their bodies.
5. Whale With Plastic Bags in Its Stomach
Creatures of all sizes can accidentally ingest plastic as they search for food. When a dying and emaciated whale was found off the coast of Norway, scientists and locals were shocked but not surprised to find more than 30 plastic bags in the whale's stomachs. The bags were thought to have obstructed the whale's digestive system, causing it to starve.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Will Sarni
It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.
The Past is No Longer a Guide to the Future
We get ever closer to "day zeros" — the point at when municipal water supplies are switched off — and tragedies such as Flint. These are not isolated stories. Instead they are becoming routine, and the public sector and civil society are scrambling to address them. We are seeing "day zeros" in South Africa, India, Australia and elsewhere, and we are now detecting lead contamination in drinking water in cities across the U.S.
"Day zero" is the result of water planning by looking in the rear-view mirror. The past is no longer a guide to the future; water demand has outstripped supplies because we are tied to business-as-usual planning practices and water prices, and this goes hand-in-hand with the inability of the public sector to factor the impacts of climate change into long-term water planning. Lead in drinking water is the result of lead pipe service lines that have not been replaced and in many cases only recently identified by utilities, governments and customers. An estimated 22 million people in the US are potentially using lead water service lines. This aging infrastructure won't repair or replace itself.
One of the most troubling aspects of the global water crisis is that those least able to afford access to water are also the ones who pay a disproportionately high percentage of their income for it. A report by WaterAid revealed that a standard water bill in developed countries is as little as 0.1 percent of the income of someone earning the minimum wage, while in a country like Madagascar a person reliant on a tanker truck for their water supply would spend as much as 45 percent of their daily income on water to get just the recommended daily minimum supply. In Mozambique, families relying on black-market vendors will spend up to 100 times as much on water as those reached by government-subsidized water supplies.
Finally, we need to understand that the discussion of a projected gap between supply and demand is misleading. There is no gap, only poor choices around allocation. The wealthy will have access to water, and the poor will pay more for water of questionable quality. From Flint residents using bottled water and paying high water utility rates, to the poor in South Africa waiting in line for their allocation of water — inequity is everywhere.
Water Inequity Requires Global Action — Now.
These troubling scenarios beg the obvious question: What to do? We do know that ongoing reports on the 'water crisis' are not going to catalyze action to address water scarcity, poor quality, access and affordability. Ensuring the human right to water feels distant at times.
We need to mobilize an ecosystem of stakeholders to be fully engaged in developing and scaling solutions. The public sector, private sector, NGOs, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and civil society must all be engaged in solving water scarcity and quality problems. Each stakeholder brings unique skills, scale and speed of impact (for example, entrepreneurs are fast but lack scale, while conversely the public sector is slow but has scale).
We also urgently need to change how we talk about water. We consistently talk about droughts happening across the globe — but what we are really dealing with is an overallocation of water due to business-as-usual practices and the impacts of climate change.
We need to democratize access to water data and actionable information. Imagine providing anyone with a smartphone the ability to know, on a real-time basis, the quality of their drinking water and actions to secure safe water. Putting this information in the hands of civil society instead or solely relying on centralized regulatory agencies and utilities will change public policies.
Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry.
Note: This post also appears on the World Economic Forum.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Circle of Blue.
- Newark Water Filters Are Working, Tests Suggest - EcoWatch ›
- Newark's Lead Crisis Escalates - EcoWatch ›
- Mice exposed to nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor developed lung cancer within a year.
- More research is needed to know what this means for people who vape.
- Other research has shown that vaping can cause damage to lung tissue.
A new study found that long-term exposure to nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor increases the risk of cancer in mice.
Six months: That's how much time Mexico now has to report on its progress to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) from extinction.
It may seem innocuous to flush a Q-tip down the toilet, but those bits of plastic have been washing up on beaches and pose a threat to the birds, turtles and marine life that call those beaches home. The scourge of plastic "nurdles," as they are called, has pushed Scotland to implement a complete ban on the sale and manufacture of plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, as the BBC reported.
By Tim Radford
Scientists in the U.S. have added a new dimension to the growing hazard of extreme heat. As global average temperatures rise, so do the frequency, duration and intensity of heatwaves.
Oscar-award winning actress and long-time political activist Jane Fonda was arrested on the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Friday for peacefully protesting the U.S. government's inaction in combating the climate crisis, according to the AP.
By Caroline Hickman
I'm up late at night worrying that my baby brothers may die from global warming and other threats to humanity – please can you put my mind at rest? – Sophie, aged 17, East Sussex, UK