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More Than 40 Companies Sign Onto Historic UK Plastics Pact

In a historic move, more than 40 UK companies have signed up to fight plastic pollution as part of the UK Plastics Pact, The Independent reported Wednesday.

The pact, which officially launches today, is a groundbreaking alliance of companies, non-governmental organizations and governments working to transform packaging in the UK by 2025.

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With Eco-Friendly Jerseys, Major League Soccer Kicks Off Earth Day in Style

Major League Soccer (MLS) is scoring a goal against plastic pollution this Earth Day, with help from a unique, eco-friendly product.

All 23 MLS teams playing Earth Day weekend, from Friday, April 20 to Sunday April 22, will wear special Adidas jerseys made from Parley Ocean Plastic™, an Adidas press release announced April 10.

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Plastic samples collected from the Great Pacific garbage patch. The Ocean Cleanup

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Now Twice the Size of Texas

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) floating off the coast of California now measures 1.6 million square kilometers (about 1 million square miles), according to a startling new study. To put that into perspective, the clump of trash is about the size of three Frances, or twice the size of Texas.

Not only that, the analysis, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, also revealed that the massive Pacific trash vortex contains up to 16 times more plastic than previous estimates—and could rapidly get worse.

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Rich Horner / Facebook

'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!"

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22-Year-Old Raises $21.7 Million to Rid Pacific Ocean of Plastic

The Ocean Cleanup—the ambitious Dutch venture devoted to ridding the world's oceans of plasticsannounced this week that it has raised $21.7 million in donations since last November.

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Plastic biodegraded by 10 worms in 30 minutes. Photo credit: César Hernández

This Tiny Caterpillar Could Help Solve the World's Plastic Crisis

A research team discovered that the caterpillars of the greater wax moth—considered a pest in Europe because it eats the beeswax from honeycombs—also has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene, the same material used in whale-choking, landfill-clogging plastic shopping bags.

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Adidas's Parley Ultraboost.

How This Shoe Company Is Tackling the World's Ocean Plastic Crisis

Adidas is getting serious about ocean plastic, turning the pollution "from threat into thread."

The sportswear giant, along with partner Parley for the Oceans, has released three new models of its shoes made from marine debris—the Ultraboost, Ultraboost X and Ultraboost Uncaged.

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Whale Found With 30+ Plastic Bags in Its Stomach

Norwegian zoologists have discovered some 30 plastic bags and other marine debris inside the stomach of a malnourished 20-foot Cuvier's beaked whale.

The whale was an adult male that weighed about 2 tons. Local authorities were forced to euthanize the distressed animal on Jan. 28 after repeatedly stranding itself off the shallow waters of Sotra, an island near Norway's southwestern coast.

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Climate

Disposable Plastics Outlawed in One of the World's Most Populous Regions

Did you know that nearly a month, India's National Capital Region—a massive swath of land that includes the nation's capital territory, Delhi—outlawed disposable plastic? On Jan. 1, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) enacted a ban on one-time use items such as plastic grocery bags and cups for the region's 54 million inhabitants, the world's second largest urban agglomeration.

The initiative puts America's local and state plastic bag bans to shame, not to mention our bans on plastic bag bans.

The Delhi government was ordered to "take steps for storage and use of plastic materials with effect from January 1, 2017."

As Fast Company reports, three waste-to-energy plants in Delhi were singled out for the air pollution they caused from burning plastic waste:

"Delhi's three main trash dumps—Okhla, Gazipur and Bhalswa—are 'a depiction of mess that can be created for environment and health of people of Delhi,' said India's National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairperson Swatanter Kumar at the tribunal.

"Delhi uses waste-to-energy plants to produce electricity, and when those plants burn plastic waste, they spew pollution into the air. And if it isn't burned, the plastic ends up clogging the Yamuna, the second largest tributary river of the Ganges."

The plants will be fined around $7,300 for each act of non-compliance.

Many have questioned how easy it will be to enforce such an order. Shopkeepers and street vendors found themselves unprepared and even unaware of the ban.

"Instead of targeting us, the authorities should stop the factories that make these items," an unnamed stationery shop owner in Meherchand Market told The Hindu. "We have already started keeping cloth bags instead of plastic ones, but we haven't been able to fully stop using plastic as customers ask for it."

Environmentalists, however, have applauded the ban.

"These plastic materials end up clogging drains and some make their way into the Yamuna. There are several studies that prove how dangerous this is. The order of the NGT was much needed, but its implementation will be key," forestry and wildlife expert Manoj Misra told the same publication.

India's latest plastic ban cannot come soon enough. A 2015 study ranked India as the 12th biggest plastic polluter in the world, but expected it to bump up to No. 5 as its economy grows.

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