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Indonesia Calls in the Army to Fight Plastic Enemy

In March, a diver's video of masses of plastic floating off the Indonesian coast went viral. But that plastic often reaches the ocean through the country's rivers, clogging them to such an extent that Indonesia had to call in the army, the BBC reported Thursday.

The BBC spent time on the ground in Bandung, Indonesia's third largest city, and observed a concentration of bottles, plastic bags and styrofoam packaging so large it looked like an iceberg.

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'A Scourge on Our Seas': UK Government Takes Aim at Single-Use Plastics

The UK government announced plans Wednesday to end to the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs in England.

"Single-use plastics are a scourge on our seas and lethal to our precious environment and wildlife so it is vital we act now," Environment Secretary Michael Gove said. "We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on straws, stirrers and cotton buds to help protect our marine life."

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Animals

Death by Plastic: 64 Pounds of Trash in Whale's Digestive System

A sperm whale found dead in southern Spain was killed after ingesting 64 pounds of mostly plastic garbage, a necropsy of the marine mammal recently revealed.

The 6-ton, 33-foot-long juvenile male beached near a lighthouse in Cabo de Palos in the region of Murcia in February.

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Plastic bag or jellyfish? Sea turtles looking for food can have trouble telling the difference. Saving The Waves / Instagram

Plastic Bag Bans Actually Work, Study of European Waters Shows

If you ever feel like the world's plastic nightmare might never end, a new study shows proof that plastic pollution legislation actually works.

There are significantly fewer plastic bags on the seafloor ever since a number of European countries introduced fees on the items, according to a 25-year study from the UK government's Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS).

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A Kroger in Norfolk, Virginia. Supermarkets are responsible for 40 percent of the plastic packaging we use. Wikimedia Commons

85,000 Petition Supermarket Giant to Open Plastic-Free Aisle

An online petition calling on the nation's largest supermarket chain to open a plastic-free aisle has surpassed 85,000 signatures.

The Care2 petition, launched less than a week ago, asks Kroger Co. to curb plastic packaging in its 2,800 branches.

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China has banned 24 kinds of foreign waste, including materials used in plastic bottles.

U.S. Asks China to 'Immediately Halt' Ban on Foreign Waste

Last year, China—the world's largest importer of wasteannounced it no longer wanted to take in other countries' trash so it could focus on its own pollution problems.

This unexpected policy shift, which took effect Jan. 1, has left exporters in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Germany and other European countries scrambling for solutions for their growing mountains of trash, the New York Times reported.

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EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan outlines the government's plan for cutting plastic waste on Feb. 13 in Taipei City. Taiwan EPA

Taiwan Sets Aggressive Timeline to Ban Straws and Other Single-Use Plastics

Taiwan's Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with a number of environmental organizations, proposed an ambitious 12-year timeline Tuesday to eliminate four types of single-use plastics—takeaway beverage cups, drinking straws, shopping bags and disposable tableware—by 2030 to tackle plastic pollution.

Taiwan, the birthplace of bubble tea, is famous for its unique food and drink culture, but the plastic vessels that come with the treats make up the vast majority of the country's beach litter. Additionally, the Tamsui River in the north was declared the 16th dirtiest river in the world for leaching 14,700 tons of plastic debris into the ocean every year.

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Mitchell Haindfield / Flickr

Boston City Council Approves Plastic Bag Ban

You might want to bring a tote if you plan on shopping in Beantown next year. Boston City Council voted 12-0 on Wednesday to ban single-use plastic bags across the Massachusetts capital.

The measure now heads to Mayor Marty Walsh, who is said to be reviewing the proposal, which requires businesses to charge no less than five cents for other types of shopping bags, such as reusable bags, compostable plastic bags and recyclable paper bags, the Associated Press reported. Businesses would keep the proceeds from the fee.

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Print Your City! The New Raw

3D Printing Turns Plastic Trash Into Public Furniture

Dutch designers are giving Amsterdam's plastic trash a second life by creating 3D-printed benches out of discarded plastic bags.

The "XXX" plastic bench, a collaboration between The New Raw and Aectual, made its debut in late October in the Dutch capital.

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