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Drinks with plastic straws on sale at London's Borough Market. Susie Adams / Getty Images

The UK government has set a date for a ban on the sale of single use plastics, The Guardian reported Wednesday. From April 2020, the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds with plastic stems will be prohibited in England.

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Cocos Keeling Islands Islet Beach, Australian Territories, Australia. Mlenny / iStock / Getty Images Plus

There are only around 600 people living on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. But their beaches are littered with 414 million pieces of plastic.

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A satellite image of Antarctica's Pine Island glacier, which is melting at five times 1990s levels. Planet Observer / Getty Images

Yet another study has shown that glaciers in Antarctica are melting at accelerating rates.

Almost 25 percent of the West Antarctic ice shelf is now thinning, and the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are losing ice at five times the rate they were in the early 1990s, CNN reported.

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A school of juvenile bocaccio in the midwaters of Platform Gilda, Santa Barbara Channel, Calif. Scott Gietler, CC BY-ND

By Ann Scarborough Bull and Milton Love

Offshore oil and gas drilling has been a contentious issue in California for 50 years, ever since a rig ruptured and spilled 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil off Santa Barbara in 1969. Today it's spurring a new debate: whether to completely dismantle 27 oil and gas platforms scattered along the southern California coast as they end their working lives, or convert the underwater sections into permanent artificial reefs for marine life.

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mattpaul / RooM / Getty Images

It's well known that ocean plastics harm marine life, but could the eight million metric tons of plastic that enters the seas each year also make it harder for us to breathe?

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Block Island Kelp / Catherine Puckett

By Marlene Cimons

Catherine Puckett needs to be close to the ocean. "I just can't be away from it," she said. "It means everything to me." She has to see it and smell it and hear the bells that ring from buoys offshore when a heavy sea rolls in from the east. When she is waist-deep in water, ankle-deep in mud, salt marsh on one side and water on the other, there's only one way she can describe it. "It's magical," she said. She even wades in during the coldest days of winter, often breaking through ice to get there. "I think to myself: 'why doesn't everybody do this?'" she said.

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A group of indigenous Australians plans to submit a complaint to the UN that accuses Australia of failing to act on climate change.

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An America man completed the deepest-ever solo underwater dive May 1. But when he reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, he found that another representative of the human world had gotten there first: plastic.

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All photographs by Christopher Michel via Flickr

By Jeff Turrentine

Imagine that your doctor sat you down and told you, firmly and unequivocally, that your way of life was putting you at serious risk of heart failure. The only way to reduce this risk and avoid a possibly fatal health catastrophe, she said, was to make some major changes — and to make them right now. First, you had to quit smoking. Second, you had to cut way back on alcohol, greasy foods, and saturated fats. Third, you had to start exercising daily. Fourth, you had to find new and better ways to manage your stress and lower your blood pressure.

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People scavenge for plastic from an Indonesian garbage dump. Juni Kriswanto / AFP / Getty Images

The U.S. is one of a few countries that has not signed on to a historic UN agreement to limit plastic pollution, the Associated Press reported.

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A grizzly bear crosses the Snake River as first light touches Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park. Photo courtesy of Thomas D. Mangelsen

By Alison Cagle

Despite an alarming UN report that warns one million plant and animal species face extinction due to human activity, the Trump administration is poised to hasten species on their path to extinction by eroding critical wildlife protections. The UN's landmark 1,500-page study, announced this week, warns that if we continue to destroy natural landscapes at rates "unprecedented in human history," massive biodiversity loss will undermine food security, access to clean water and sources of modern medicine by 2050.

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