Maine Woman Is Killed in Possible Shark Attack
Maine may have experienced its first-ever fatal shark attack.
Officials in the Pine Tree State are investigating a possible shark attack that took place Monday and left one woman dead. If it's confirmed, it will go down in the books as Maine's first official deadly shark attack, ABC News reported.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources posted on Facebook that "an eye witness reported that the woman was swimming off the shore near White Sails Lane when she was injured in what appeared to be a shark attack. Kayakers nearby brought her to shore and EMS responders were called to the scene where she was pronounced deceased." The post went on to say, "Until further notice, swimmers and boaters are urged to use caution near Bailey Island and to avoid swimming near schooling fish or seals."
Bailey Island is in Casco Bay, just east of Yarmouth and Freeport. Maine Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols told the Boston Globe that he could not find records of any fatal attacks before Monday.
Nichols also told the Boston Globe that the last known shark attack occurred off the coast of Eastport in 2010, when a diver swam near salmon pens. Local news reports said the diver used his camera to fend off the shark and escaped unharmed, according to the Boston Globe.
The Boston Globe also reported that although It's unclear what kind of shark the diver saw, he believed it was a porbeagle.
James Sulikowski, a shark researcher in charge of Arizona State University's Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab, has spent years researching white sharks in Maine in collaboration with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. He said there are eight shark species found off Maine's coast, but only white sharks are known to have attacked people, the Boston Globe reported.
When that happens, Sulikowski said, it's most likely because the shark has mistaken a human for a seal.
"The shark wasn't looking to eat this woman," Sulikowski told the Boston Globe. "It thought it was getting a seal. We've never been on their menu. We don't taste like what they want."
He added that white sharks try to take their prey by surprise. "They come up from below or behind, undetected, and just try to overpower their prey with a ferocious blow," he told the Boston Globe.
Sulikowski told The Portland Press Herald that it could have been a white shark attack. The Boston Globe reported that this past weekend, Sulikowski and his team were contacted about a dead seal on the beach in Phippsburg, near Bailey Island, that had a 19-inch bite mark in it.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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