Quantcast

'Plastic, Plastic, So Much Plastic!': Diver Films Sea of Trash Off Bali

Rich Horner / Facebook

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.

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.

Sponsored
On thin ice. Christopher Michel / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Russian military is taking measures to protect the residents of a remote Arctic settlement from a mass of polar bears, German press agency DPA reported.

The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.

Read More Show Less

This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.

"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Over the past few years, it seems vegan cooking has gone from 'brown rice and tofu' to a true art form. These amazing cooks show off the creations on Instagram—and we can't get enough.

Read More Show Less
The USS Ashland, followed by the USS Green Bay, in the Philippine Sea on Jan. 21. U.S. Department of Defense

By Shana Udvardy

After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.

Read More Show Less
The Paradise Fossil Plant in western Kentucky. CC BY 3.0

Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.

Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.

Read More Show Less