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Oceans
Courtesy of Anna Du

12-Year-Old Girl Invents Plastic-Detecting Robot to Save Our Oceans

For 12-year-old Anna Du a love of the ocean and marine animals inspired her to build a device that hunts for microplastics.

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Oceans
Beach trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch washed up on a beach in Hawaii. Justin Dolske / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Sea Dragon vs. the Garbage Patch: All Female Crew Takes on Ocean Plastic

When sailor and environmentalist Emily Penn tested her own body for some of the toxic chemicals that are found when plastics break down in the oceans, she got a surprise.

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Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

Greenpeace Finds Microplastics and Hazardous Chemicals in Remote Antarctic Waters

Another day, another sign of the reach of the global ocean plastics crisis. A Greenpeace expedition to Antarctica turned up microplastics in more than half of ocean water samples taken in the world's southernmost waters. It also found chemicals dangerous to wildlife in a majority of snow samples, Greenpeace reported Wednesday.

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Animals
Pexels

Microplastics May Heat Marine Turtle Nests and Produce More Females

By Mariana Fuentes

Have you ever considered that small pieces of plastic less than 5 millimeters long, or smaller than a pencil eraser head, called microplastics, can affect large marine vertebrates like sea turtles?

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Oceans
Dedee Verdin / Kids Ocean Day

LA Kids Make Waves for a Plastic-Free Ocean

By Taryn Kiekow Heimer

Kids Ocean Day—a day that inspired nearly 4,500 Los Angeles-area children to clean up nearby beaches—celebrated its 25th Anniversary last Thursday. The day started with a beach cleanup at Dockweiler State Beach, which was followed by a news conference and kick-off program where Emmett Kliger, a fifth grade student from Citizens of the World Charter School Mar Vista, recited a poem he created to commemorate the anniversary of Kids Ocean Day. The event concluded with a giant aerial art WAVE the children created with their bodies, a picture so large it could only be seen from the sky. This year's theme was "Kids Making Waves for a Plastic-Free Ocean," which highlighted the importance of teamwork for keeping our ocean clean for future generations.

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Marco Verch / CC BY 2.0

Dangerous Chemicals From E-Waste Found in Black Plastics From Toys to Drink Stirrers

Recycling is often touted as a universal environmental good, but a new study from the University of Plymouth found that improper recycling of electronic waste means that dangerous chemicals are finding their way into black plastics used in consumer goods, with potentially negative consequences for human health and marine life.

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Health
Milk fish. Bernard Spragg. NZ / Flickr

Scientists Launch Groundbreaking Study on Health Risks of Microplastics in Seafood

Each year, 8 million tons of plastic leaches into our oceans. That trash is inadvertently consumed by fish and other marine life, thus impacting the larger food chain. In fact, studies have already found that sea salt can be rich in plastic and that we likely consume the tiny bits that get embedded in many types of seafood.

Despite the pervasiveness of plastic, not much is known about how consuming it affects human health.

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Shutterstock

Microplastics Pollute Rivers and Lakes, Too

By Kennedy Bucci and Chelsea Rochman

When you think of microplastic pollution, plastic debris less than five millimeters in size, you likely envision the ocean—probably because ocean gyres gained notoriety for being a microplastic soup.

But what about our lakes, rivers, forests and fields? They can be just as contaminated with microplastic debris as the oceans.

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Health

Humans Eat More Than 100 Plastic Fibers With Each Meal

The proliferation of microplastics in the ocean has led to concerns that they might work their way up the food chain to us.

But when researchers at Heriot-Watt University set out to investigate that concern, they found that plastics in our own homes pose a much greater threat to humans.

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