'Plastic, Plastic, So Much Plastic!': Diver Films Sea of Trash Off Bali
British diver Rich Horner posted footage of his plastic-infested swim off Bali's Manta Point on Saturday.
"The ocean currents brought us in a lovely gift of a slick of jellyfish, plankton, leaves, branches, fronds, sticks, etc.... Oh, and some plastic," Horner wrote on Facebook. "Some plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic cups, plastic sheets, plastic buckets, plastic sachets, plastic straws, plastic baskets, plastic bags, more plastic bags, plastic, plastic, so much plastic!"
Manta Point is a cleaning and feeding station for Manta rays just off the shores of Nusa Penida in Indonesia. It attracts the creatures all year round, but the video shows a single ray in the background.
"Surprise, surprise, there weren't many mantas there at the cleaning station today," Horner observed. "They mostly decided not to bother."
While the plastic trash was carried away by currents the next day, Horner noted the problem doesn't simply go away.
"Plastic doesn't really [break down] ... it just breaks apart into smaller and smaller pieces," he wrote. They become microplastics that become "coated in yummy algae that fish, turtles, etc., etc. love to eat. So these small/tiny pieces of plastic will be eaten even more, entering the food chain, along with the toxins they contain and have absorbed. That food chain, obviously leads up to us."
Horner said the overuse of plastics, unnecessary packaging and single-use items needs to be reduced or eliminated. He also advocates for proper disposal and recycling of the material.
Plastic pollution is a worldwide epidemic but it's the worst in Asia, where there are few collection and recovery systems. The worst countries at present are China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. These five countries are responsible for up to 60 percent of the marine plastic entering our oceans, according to Stemming the Tide, a study from the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.
These 5 Countries Account for 60% of Plastic Pollution in Oceans http://t.co/HIlwiSnefr @HealTheBay @savingoceans— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1445036123.0
Indonesia itself produces about 130,000 tons of plastic and solid waste per day, the Guardian noted, but only half reaches landfills. The remaining trash is either illegally burned or dumped into the country's waters. But last year, the Indonesian government announced it will pledge $1 billion a year to curb ocean waste in its aim to reduce marine waste by 70 percent by 2025.
Experts project that by 2025, plastic consumption in Asia will increase by an astonishing 80 percent to surpass 200 million tons. And unless steps are taken to manage this waste properly, in ten short years the ocean could contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish.
The good news is that many local and international governments are stepping up to curb plastic waste. Earlier this month, Taiwan's Environmental Protection Agency proposed an ambitious 12-year timeline to eliminate four types of single-use plastics—takeaway beverage cups, drinking straws, shopping bags and disposable tableware—by 2030. Chile prohibits the sale of single-use plastic bags in 102 coastal villages and towns. Kenya introduced a serious law that slaps a fine or even a jail sentence on anyone who manufactures, sells or even carries a plastic bag. Scotland has also announced plans to ban the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds as well as plastic straws.
Also, let's not forget that we can all do our part in reducing our plastic footprint.
People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>