plastic-pollution
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

plastic pollution

Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

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Waste pickers like this woman in India are disproportionately exposed to the toxins from plastic waste. Caisii Mao / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Plastic pollution isn't just a threat to non-human life like turtles and whales. It's also a major environmental justice problem.

That's the conclusion of a new report released Tuesday from the UN Environment Program and ocean justice non-profit Azul, titled Neglected: Environmental Justice Impacts of Plastic Pollution.

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waterlust.com / @tulasendlesssummer_sierra .

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.

Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.

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A plastic bag on the beach at Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge in Kiptopeke, Virginia on Oct. 22, 2011. Caitlin Finnerty / Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr

The state of Virginia is taking a stand against single-use plastics.

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John Oliver attends NRDC's "Night of Comedy" Benefit on April 30, 2019 in New York City. Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for NRDC

In his latest deep dive for Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver took on plastic pollution and, specifically, the myth that if we all just recycled enough, the problem would go away.

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One type of algae in the Great Lakes, Cladophora, readily tangles up with plastic microfiber. Brenda Lafrancois / National Park Service

By Andrew Blok

Great Lakes algae is catching huge amounts of microplastics.

Researchers found that one type of algae, which has greatly expanded its range within the Great Lakes and is one of the most abundant algae by weight there, could catch up to one trillion pieces of microplastic in the Great Lakes.

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A man carries a bucket of plastic waste at an import plastic waste dump in Mojokerto, Indonesia, on December 4, 2018. Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images

Editor's note: This article has been updated with correspondence from the Basel Action Network and the Center for International Environmental Law

The majority of the world is working together to reverse the massive plastic pollution problem. But, the world's leading producer of plastic waste, the U.S., isn't on board and isn't following the rules.

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The study identified chinook salmon as among the species of high concern that are frequently ingesting plastic.
bpperry / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Each year the amount of plastic swirling in ocean gyres and surfing the tide toward coastal beaches seems to increase. So too does the amount of plastic particles being consumed by fish — including species that help feed billions of people around the world.

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Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

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The Great Barrier Reef at Whitsunday Island, Australia. Daniel Osterkamp / Getty Images

The world's oceans and coastal ecosystems can store remarkable amounts of carbon dioxide. But if they're damaged, they can also release massive amounts of emissions back into the atmosphere.

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New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

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David Mark / Pixabay

By Douglas McCauley

This article is part of The Davos Agenda.

The year 2050 has been predicted by some to be a bleak year for the ocean. Experts say that by 2050 there may be more plastic than fish in the sea, or perhaps only plastic left. Others say 90% of our coral reefs may be dead, waves of mass marine extinction may be unleashed, and our seas may be left overheated, acidified and lacking oxygen.

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Nzambi Matee told reporters she was "tired of being on the sidelines," and decided to create a solution of her own for commercial plastic waste. Gjenge Makers Ltd.

Nzambi Matee is an entrepreneur with an incredible goal -- to turn plastic destined for the landfill into sustainable, strong building material. Her company, Gjenge Makers, uses the plastic waste of commercial facilities to create bricks that can withstand twice the weight threshold of concrete.

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