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Kanggava Bay on Rennell Island, where a grounded ship is leaking oil, according to some reports. Peter Hendrie / Getty Images

A ship that ran aground in the Solomon islands Feb. 4 is now menacing a coral reef with an oil spill, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

The 740 foot MV Solomon Trader was stranded on a reef near Rennell Island, home to the largest raised coral atoll in the world and a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, AFP reported. The bulk carrier has not been salvaged in the two weeks since it was stranded because of Cyclone Oma, Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) director Loti Yates told Radio New Zealand early Monday morning.

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Methane bubbles trapped in ice in a Canadian lake. John Bakator on Unsplash

By Tim Radford

As the global temperature steadily rises, it ensures that levels of one of the most potent greenhouse gases are increasing in a way new to science: the planet will have to reckon with more methane than expected.

Researchers who monitored one bog for three years in the Alaskan permafrost have identified yet another instance of what engineers call positive feedback. They found that global warming meant earlier springs and with that, earlier spring rains.

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A recycling team on the river Thames' Southbank cleaning the beach from plastic and garbage on Aug. 23, 2018. Alberto Pezzali / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The UK government announced plans Monday to "overhaul" its waste system, with the aim of reducing plastic pollution and moving towards a circular economy that would not rely on single-use items.

To that end, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is launching four major consultations on proposed changes, including a plan to make packaging producers pay fully for processing their waste and a tax on plastic packaging that is not made from at least 30 percent recycled material.

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Can you go 21 days without using plastic water bottles? Well, you've been challenged. Too easy of a challenge for you? Share the idea with your friends and family. Imagine if the entire world went 21 days without consuming plastic bottles.

Let's make 2019 the year of plastic pollution solutions. We have unimaginable power as consumers to create a better world for our children.

You've Been Challenged

EcoWatch teamed up with China's first professional surfer Darci Liu and #5minutebeachcleanup founder Carolina Sevilla to create an exciting challenge to help you on your path to making a huge difference on this planet. Get engaged with your friends and family and embark with us on this journey.

It's simple: refuse plastic bottles for 21 days, talk about it on social media, hashtag #PlasticBottlesChallenge and reflect on your experience for a week via social media posts. Let us know via social media direct messaging if this challenge has made a difference in your life. Mention @EcoWatch, @5minutebeachcleanup and @take__away_from_the_sea so we can consider featuring your experience in our Instagram story.

We Need a Massive Shift

"We get used to very easy lifestyles," said Darci Liu, bu we've got to shift our mindsets and move away from the single-use mentality.

"What we need to realize is how much that bottle has traveled to be where you are," said Carolina Sevilla as she spoke about the carbon footprint of plastic water bottles. We are responsible for the destruction happening on this planet. Sevilla urged viewers to get engaged, reject single-use plastic and realize that "this can really make an impact."

Plastic Is Wreaking Havoc On Our Health​

"It's way healthier for us to bring our own water bottles" instead of consuming whatever bottles of water or beverages are available when we are on the go, said Darci Liu. Plastic Pollution Coalition points out in the above Instagram post that we are still learning about the health implications of plastic.

Plastic Bottles or Tap Water?

93 percent of bottled water contains microplastics. The chemicals used in plastic bottles create these microplastics. Have we all processed the fact that these chemicals do leach into the liquid, and thus end up in our systems as well?

Coke, Pepsi and Nestlé Are World's Biggest Producers of Plastic Trash

Darci Liu lives on Hainan Island China where she has direct connection to the ocean each day, a rare opportunity considering most of China is away from the sea.

"Every single day there is more trash in the ocean next to me while I'm surfing," said Darci. "Kids ask me the question why there are so many plastic bottles in the ocean. I don't know how to answer the kids."

At this point, you likely have a solid understanding of the importance of this challenge. So find yourself a water bottle that you enjoy drinking from, and be sure you have access to a water refill station or water filtration system if needed. You are officially a change maker and an #EcoWatcher committed to making a difference.

Two turtles being rescued from a line that had tied them together. ANATOLI MYSHLYAEV / Getty Images

2018 was a major year for raising awareness about the buildup of plastics in the world's oceans. But it also ended with one of the most high-profile attempts to solve the problem—Boyan Slat's Ocean Cleanup system—returning to port for repairs before managing to clean up any plastic.

Now, National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures are teaming up to make 2019 an important year for resolving the crisis. On Monday, the two organizations launched the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge, a competition that will award up to $500,000 in prize money and potentially at least $1 million in investments to teams that can develop solutions to the plastic crisis.

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By Verner Wilson II

2018 was a breakthrough year for Arctic conservation work at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). I wrote partly about it in my previous blog. Aside from obtaining internationally recognized routing measures and shipping areas to be avoided (ATBA) in the Bering Sea, IMO also moved forward with regulations to ban the use of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) in the Arctic.

The United Nations shipping agency also moved to regulate climate-change causing greenhouse gas emissions in the international shipping industry, which is one of the largest emitters of carbon and other atmosphere pollutants. I look forward to continuing that type of work into 2019. And there will be plenty of opportunity for that, as there are a number of IMO subcommittee meetings that will consider pollution reduction and prevention measures. The people who I believe made some of the most significant differences in this work in 2018 were able to come to IMO with me last fall.

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