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World's Plastic Waste Problem Now Predicted to Reach 111 Million Metric Tonnes by 2030

Mountains of plastic waste are building up around the globe after China implemented a ban on other countries' trash.

By 2030, an estimated 111 million metric tons of single-use drink bottles, food containers and other plastic junk will be displaced because of China's new policy, according to a new paper from University of Georgia researchers, who cited UN global trade data for their study.

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Oceans
Pexels

Trump Continues 'War on America’s Oceans' With New Executive Order

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday that replaces former President Barack Obama's oceans policy, which emphasized conservation and sustainability, with a new approach that shifts focus to energy independence, economic growth and security, Science Magazine reported.

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Oceans
Pixabay

Seattle's Ban on Plastic Straws, Utensils Begins July 1

Starting next month, Seattle eateries will no longer provide plastic straws, utensils and cocktail picks to customers.

"As of July 1, 2018, food services businesses should not be providing plastic straws or utensils," Sego Jackson, the strategic advisor for Waste Prevention and Product Stewardship for Seattle Public Utilities told Q13 FOX. "What they should be providing are compostable straws or compostable utensils. But they also might be providing durables, reusables, or encouraging you to skip the straw altogether."

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Animals

Orca Whale 'Crewser' Presumed Dead as Population Reaches Its Lowest Point Since 1984

Following the suspected death of an orca whale nicknamed Crewser, the population of southern resident orca whales is the lowest it has been in 34 years, The Seattle Times reported Saturday.

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Oceans
Seagrass meadows are vital ecosystems for marine animals. P. Lindgren / Wikimedia Commons

There’s Now an App for Mapping Seagrass, the Oceans’ Great Carbon Sink

The launch of an online crowdsourcing database for seagrass hopes to breathe new life into efforts to conserve the underwater flowering plants, which act as both important habitats for marine species and a major store of carbon dioxide.

Patchy mapping of seagrass meadows has hampered efforts to protect the plants (which are distinct from seaweed) from threats such as coastal development, sedimentation, coral farming and sand mining, according to Richard Unsworth, a marine biologist at Swansea University in the UK and co-founder of environmental charity Project Seagrass.

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Oceans
The "salmon wars" between the U.S. and Canada in the 1990s could foreshadow conflicts to come as climate change pushes fish species towards the poles. David Menke / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

'Fish Fights' Could Erupt as Climate Change Drives Species Across Borders

A study published in Science on Friday warned that climate change could spark global conflict over an unexpected resource: fish.

As waters warm, fish and other animals are already moving into new territory at a rate of 70 kilometers (approximately 43.5 miles) per decade, and that pace could accelerate in the future. If we do not act to lower greenhouse gas emissions, new fish species will enter the waters of at least 70 countries by 2100, challenging the regulatory framework for managing fishing rights, according to a University of British Columbia (UBC) press release.

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Animals
Shark fins drying on sidewalk in Hong Kong. Nicholas Wang / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Starbucks Urged to Cut Ties With Hong Kong Chain That Still Serves Shark Fin

Starbucks is being pressured to cut ties with popular Hong Kong restaurant chain Maxim's Caterers Limited over its offering of dishes with shark fin.

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Animals
Atlantic cod is one of hundreds of fish species in which larger females lay more, and healthier eggs. OCEANA / Carlos Minguell

Old, Fat Fish Have the Most Offspring, Sustainability Study Finds

By Annie Roth

It might seem smart to eat the big fish and throw the little ones back. But a recent study in the journal Science says just the opposite. Big fish are the ones to throw back, especially if they're female.

That's because bigger females have disproportionately more babies than their smaller counterparts.

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Business
Kai Schreiber / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

SeaWorld, American Express, Fast Food Chains to Curb Single-Use Plastics

Momentum is building in the war against single-use plastics. In the past week, a slew of major companies—including SeaWorld parks, American Express, cruise company Royal Caribbean, IKEA, A&W Canada and Burger King UK—have pledged to eliminate items such as plastic drinking straws, stirrers, lids and bags in efforts to protect our oceans and their inhabitants.

SeaWorld Entertainment announced Thursday, right before World Oceans Day, that all 12 of its theme parks have removed all single-use plastic drinking straws and shopping bags.

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