Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer
About 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year. In the US alone, about 30+ million tons of plastic waste is dumped into the solid waste system, including various plastic containers, bags and other types of packaging, with only about 10% being recycled.
Plastic, which was once regarded as convenient and versatile, has actually become one of the biggest environmental problems of our time. Over the last 50 years, we’ve increased the amount of plastic waste 12 fold. Typically plastics are made by using non-renewable resources, and most plastics are non-biodegadable, which means they will be around for centuries. The ingredients used to make plastics, such as petrochemical bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS), have been linked to a wide range of serious adverse health effects.
“Plastic pollution is a major global phenomenon that has crept up on us over the decades, and it really requires a global and comprehensive solution that includes systemic rethinks about usage and production.” – Doug Woodring, Plastic Disclosure Project (Source: New York Times)
Plastic bags are another concerning issue. Over 1 trillion plastic bags are produced in the world each year. We use them for everything – from carrying groceries, to packing beauty products in our luggage, to storing foods in our refrigerator, and they have made our life much more convenient. Yet, the price for this convenience is astounding. The infographic below, produced by Arte IDEAS, will give you an idea of the impact plastic bags have on the environment:
The impact of plastic has been most detrimental to the world’s waterways. Environmental organizations estimate that about 7 million tons of plastic end up in the seas and oceans each year, polluting beaches even on islands, killing off precious and rare native species.
…the E.U. commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, Maria Damanaki, has said that pollution in the Mediterranean Sea has reached “alarming proportions.” (Source: New York Times)
One of the most harrowing examples the devastation already to the Midway Islands, home of the majestic albatross and one of the most remotest places on earth. 2000 miles from another continent, this little oasis is ground zero for the plastic apocalypse and this once pristine group of islands is now a frightening and gruesomely real sign of how plastics choke the life out of an eco-system.
Once in our seas and oceans, plastics break down info smaller fragments, and as the fragments get smaller, more marine life is able to ingest them and suffer consequences such as illness or death. We also suffer considering that we are contaminating a major food source. “One study found that fish in the North Pacific ingest as much as 24,000 tons of plastic debris a year.” (Source: New York Times)
The situation is of dire need of our attention, which makes young inventor, Boyan Slat’s, recent invention so inspiring. Boylan has designed an Ocean Cleanup Array, which he claims could remove up to 7+million tons of plastic waste from our oceans.
The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel.
Slat went on to found The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-profit organization which is responsible for the development of his proposed technologies. His ingenious solution could potentially save hundreds of thousands of aquatic animals annually, and reduce pollutants (including PCB and DDT) from building up in the food chain. It could also save millions per year, both in clean-up costs, lost tourism and damage to marine vessels.
Here is Boylan at TEDxDelft, in an effort to grow funding for his project:
Even though Boylan’s invention is a long way from development and barely scratches the surface of the necessary clean-up efforts, it does offer us a potential tool for helping to clean up this catastrophe. It also shows us how heavily invested the youth of today are in the future.
The problem with plastic will not go away without raising the awareness of all people. Inventive minds such as Boylan Slat are a ray of hope for a solution, but without a great change in people’s everyday awareness and attitudes, not much can be done to stop this.
Cutting out plastic completely is probably impossible in this day and age, but perhaps we can all make an effort to use a bit less. In many countries, health food stores allow you to bring your own packaging to purchase items from food bins, versus buying everything prepackaged in plastic bags and containers. Even certain cities, such as Austin, Texas USA, are starting to ban use of grocery plastic bags in supermarkets.
As an “aware” citizen, I thought to myself, “How could I really have such a significant impact…? I don’t even use all that many plastic bags anyway.” And then I started to pay attention.
Try it for a month. Pay close attention to just how many plastic items you buy, discard, recycle, and reuse. As you do this, you’ll want to reuse and recycle, because you will quickly notice that each and every one of us buys and discards an exorbitant amount of plastic.
Support companies and stores that are more environmentally conscious in regard to packaging and distributing foods and products. Buy plastics made out of organic polymers, making them biodigredable, considering prices of these plastics are become more competitive. Be an aware shopper – our oceans, the living beings inside them, the planet – all need more kindness and awareness from us if they are to survive.
About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an avid student of Yoga and life.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
Before I begin, let me start by expressing my love for the people of Oklahoma and how much it broke my heart to see tornado’s cause such pain and destruction. When I left Norman, OK 20yrs ago I left a piece of heart there along with my family and friends, so please don’t think me insensitive or that I don’t care. Qutie the opposite, I left because of my frustration with people like Coburn and Inhofe. Sadly from my observations when visiting OKC in March 2012, little has changed in attitude and I guess what set me on this rant is seeing that the same men are still holding office as when I left the state long ago.
The same crooks are running the Congressional show, only the governors change names. My best advise would be for Oklahoman’s to research the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), if you haven’t heard of ALEC it’s a powerful organization that ALL GOP members have taken oaths of loyalty to – loyalty that belongs to the citizens of Oklahoma not private corporations.
GOP districts across the nation are selling public services to corporations for privatization; meaning your schools, library’s, parks, fire/police services, prisons and courts are up for sale or have been purchased by private corporations to run at a profit – they are no longer not-for-profit public services. Which always spells disaster for the consumer.
For instance, with the rise of private prisons, the very next step for Oklahoma will be debtor prisons so they can meet their quota filling prison cells. If you think it can’t happen take a look at people in Ohio spending jail time for $100 parking ticket or credit card debt. Now the Oklahoma’s Congressional corporate millionaires are squandering to rob funds from much needed services to pay for tornado damage.
Also, keep an eye out on the contractors pulling in from all corners of the USA to profit from death and destruction, in a new trend called disaster capitalism and a prime motive for weather modification. Question: When they can build structures that can handle winds up to 300mph why aren’t your Congress members campaigning for safer construction requirements, like California adopted to SAVE LIVES in earthquakes?? Because OK and TX in particular are STEEPED in CRONYISM. andi t’s more profitable to build under old wasteful standards, then when the next twister comes thru it’ll be the same story that we witnessed in 1999 when an F5 ripped thru Moore and with the twister that hit May 20, 2013 in the same township. These guys have been in office since I left in the early 90′s..wtf???
It’s like an abusive relationship, voters just keep coming back for more abuse…isn’t it time to give these guys the boot??? If you haven’t paid much attention to the UCC filings yet, things are quickly moving in the background ~ by the end of the summer much will have changed for the better for everyone. But for now, flash mob email campaigns would be appropriate to put the OK Senate and Congress on notice that the game is over and the One People are taking their Power back. Much love and Aloha! ~A~}
Oklahoma residents will now turn to government assistance for emergency disaster aid after a tornado ripped through the state on Monday, leaving dozens dead and tearing apart hundreds of buildings. But the same night that many residents lost their homes, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told CQ Roll Callinsisted he would “absolutely” require any federal disaster aid to be offset by other budget cuts. He later clarified on Tuesday, promising, “I can assure Oklahomans that any and all available aid will be delivered without delay.”
Both of the state’s senators, Sen. James Inhofe (R) and Coburn, however, have long worked to undermine the Federal Emergency Management Agency, even though their state heavily relies on disaster aid:
1. In September 2011, Coburn offered an amendment to offset $6.9 billion in FEMA funding.
2. Coburn voted in 2011 against funding FEMA after it ran out of money, because, in his words, funding FEMA would have been “unconscionable.” Inhofe did not vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fired back at Republicans blocking a bill for necessary funding to FEMA.
4. Coburn criticized items in Sandy disaster relief such as $12.9 billion for disaster mitigiation and $366 million for Amtrak as “wasteful spending.”
5. After Hurricane Sandy, Inhofe and Coburn voted against a bill for $50.5 billion in Hurrican Sandy disaster relief.
6. Coburn demanded that $5.25 billion in FEMA grant funds be reallocated because of sequestration in April 2013.
A spokesman told the Huffington Post that Coburn has supported offsets for the Oklahoma City bombing recovery effort, which tapped funds not yet appropriated.
Oklahoma and Texas rank as the top two states in FEMA disaster declarations; combined, they account for more than a quarter of declared disasters since 2009. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the senators have requested disaster aid for severe storms and drought, even though Coburn is willing to hold up relief with his demands.
On MSNBC, Inhofe argued that tornado aid for Oklahoma is “totally different” from aid for Hurricane Sandy. “Everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy taking place,” he said. “That won’t happen in Oklahoma.”
May 20, 2013 – KAMCHATKA – A massive earthquake swarm has occurred in the region of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia. More than 20 earthquakes have struck the region in the last 22 hours- the strongest of which was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, which rattled the seafloor at a depth of 16.5 km deep. The latest seismic flare-up along this region reflects growing agitation on one of the planet’s largest tectonic plates- the Pacific plate. Increasing seismic volatility along this region of Kamchatka could have serious ramifications for every tectonic plate that comes into contact with the Pacific plate- from the South Pacific to South America. A similar, more intense earthquake swarm occurred along the periphery of the Pacific Plate near the Santa Cruz Islands in February of this year. Is the Pacific plate on the verge of a large-scale change?
The geology of the region: The Kuril-Kamchatka arc extends approximately 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan, along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula to its intersection with the Aleutian arc near the Commander Islands, Russia. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the Okhotsk micro-plate, part of the larger North American plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Kuril Islands chain, active volcanoes located along the entire arc, and the deep offshore Kuril-Kamchatka trench. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving towards the northwest at a rate that increases from 75 mm/year near the northern end of the arc to 83 mm/year in the south. Plate motion is predominantly convergent along the Kuril-Kamchatka arc with obliquity increasing towards the southern section of the arc. The subducting Pacific plate is relatively old, particularly adjacent to Kamchatka where its age is greater than 100 Ma. Consequently, the Wadati-Benioff zone is well defined to depths of approximately 650 km. The central section of the arc is comprised of an oceanic island arc system, which differs from the continental arc systems of the northern and southern sections. Oblique convergence in the southern Kuril arc results in the partitioning of stresses into both trench-normal thrust earthquakes and trench-parallel strike-slip earthquakes, and the westward translation of the Kuril forearc. This westward migration of the Kuril forearc currently results in collision between the Kuril arc in the north and the Japan arc in the south, resulting in the deformation and uplift of the Hidaka Mountains in central Hokkaido. The Kuril-Kamchatka arc is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Deformation of the overriding North America plate generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the subduction zone interface between the Pacific and North America plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. At greater depths, Kuril-Kamchatka arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific plate and can reach depths of approximately 650 km. -USGS
May 20, 2013 – ALASKA - 232 days – it took over 30 years for Anchorage to set a new record for the longest snow season on record. The National Weather Service measured 2/10ths of an inch just after 9 p.m. Friday and 1/10th Saturday morning – breaking the old record of 230 days set in 1981-1982. Anchorage police responded to 22 crashes, 4 with injuries and 37 vehicles in distress between midnight and noon Saturday. Police say roads were wet and not icy midday and “motorists should use caution if the temperatures drop below freezing. Other parts of the city had much higher amounts of snow, however official measurements must be consistent and observed at the Sand Lake forecast office. The recent snowfall also broke the daily record for liquid precipitation, lowest maximum temperature for May 17, and a host of other records. NWS says Saturday evening’s forecast calls for “mostly cloudy with isolated snow showers in the evening…then partly cloudy after midnight – lows in the upper teens to mid 20s and north wind to 15 mph.” For Sunday, the forecast will be mostly sunny, highs in the 40s, and light winds, according to NWS. -NBC
Note: The only way to stop this insanely inhumane practice is with enough people voicing their outrage and boycotting restaurants that offer migratory birds on the menu. Help spread the word, PLEASE SHARE FREELY…mahalo!
Sun, 19 May 2013
May 2013. Disturbing evidence has emerged from the Mediterranean coast of Egypt: Bavarian Broadcasting have documented a total of 700 kilometres of nets set to catch birds. The birds are then offered as a delicacy in markets and restaurants across Egypt.
The nets are very difficult to avoid for many migratory birds as they form a barrier across their flight path either across the Mediterranean or the Sahara when they are looking for a place to rest. The exact number of birds caught in this way can only be estimated, but experts believe that tens of millions are killed each year.
That songbirds are on the menu (and targeted by many hunters) in many countries of southern Europe and North Africa is nothing new. The existence of fishing nets on the coast of Egypt has long been known, but what is new is the scale of netting, which now extends from Libya across almost the entire coastline of the Egypt to the Sinai – interrupted only in a few places by military installations or major cities.
Catching birds in Egypt threatens European populations
This form of bird trapping is mostly illegal in Egypt; there are statutory requirements for minimum distances between the nets and maximum stipulated heights but these are largely ignored. Egypt has also signed international agreements on the protection of birds, but the resulting rules are not enforced at all.
Lars Lachmann, bird expert of NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, one of the oldest and largest environment associations in Germany.) states that the implications of bird trapping in Egypt to the European breeding population are not good: “The majority of our species are suffering from habitat loss and climate change; species such as willow warbler, nightingale, wheatear and nightjar will be adversely affected by the massive catch in Egypt.”
Help the fight against this trapping
Any donations will go to NABU’s partner organization “Nature Conservation Egypt” to enable it to campaign locally, through regular monitoring of the extent of bird trapping and also to develop specific projects to prevent bird trapping.
In this post I will be listing some strange sounds and mystery booms reports submitted to my page as well as on other pages around the web to keep you updated. Unexplained booms persist as lots of reports are around! Thank you for sharing this important information!
Recent May 2013 Boom Reports
Strange Sounds in Abbotsford BC Canada on May 16 2013
I heard this all last week in abbotsford bc! Along with a high pitch whistling noise! I thought at first it was just city noise, but it went from 10pm to late at night (I went to bed at 1-2am. It was so loud it, I heard it over the tv!
Last night it, there was no noise, and it was silent outside! A few weeks ago, I was walking my daughter to school and it sounded like an airplane was flying by, but it never moved. It sounded like it was just hovering. It lasted a good half hour. I recorded it once it got home! I’ve heard this noise before, last summer it think, but at night. I remember wondering why this plane was flying so late at night, and why it wasn’t going anywhere! I thought I should also add, that on April 20th (I think), in the evening at about 8-9pm, I heard some booming sounds coming from the south. It sounded like someone banging on a dumpster, but when I looked outside, there wasn’t anyone out there! I posted it on Facebook, and friends from all over Abbotsford had heard it too, thinking it was right in their neighbourhood. This incident is where I learned about all the noises around the world, and became more aware of all this noise I was hearing! But from that booming in April, there has been this same noise as in this video, until a day or 2 ago, and I have to say, it’s SO SO quiet now! I’d have to describe the sound as a jet plane taking off… Forever! (The sound never really came or went like a plane does! And it happened night and day!)
Strange Sounds in Lower Manhattan may 15 2013
It just happened again, heard in lower Manhattan, 5/15/13 at approx. 9:10 PM +/- It sounded like it was coming from west side/or NJ. It’s extraordinarily loud, powerful, booming/banging — and somewhat rhythmical, starts and stops, with no rain or thunder, for many minutes.
Strange Sounds in Clearwater Florida May 12 2013
I heard this last night. I was in bed and thought a plane was going to crash into my house. It started and stopped abruptly. It last for about 15 minutes. There was nothing in the sky. No planes, no lights, nothing. I’m right off of the Courtney Campbell in Clearwater. I wanted to know if anyone else heard it and came across this and other pages. Really strange, what is it!????!!??
Loud unexplained booms near Bentley Kansas on May 12 2013
My wife and I live 2 miles east of Bentley, Kansas (NW of Wichita). We experienced a very loud boom today that shook the house and rattled the glass at 8:40 PM Central time. Another equally violent boom occurred about 4 minutes later. Within 10 minutes we had fire department and sheriff patrol cars patrolling up and down the road. I stopped a fire engine to ask what was going on and they told me they were trying to find the source of the loud booms. They were not able to locate the source of the explosions.
Are these booms related to the next reports? Bentley, Kansas, is 533 miles nearly straight west of Salem, Illinois, (below), where residents also reported loud, unexplained booms on the same day.
More booms in Salem Southern Illinois May 12 2013
We heard two booms today while in Salem, IL. The first was at about 5:25 pm. The second was about 5:40 pm. There have been other recent reports of loud booms in Salem that we did not hear, as we live about 15 or so miles east of there. The first boom that I heard personally was exactly one year ago today, on May 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm, in Iuka, IL. I find it bizarre that the only booms that I have heard personally were EXACTLY one year apart.
Loud thunder/boom in Northern Utah County Utah May 9 2013
On May 7th, around 5:30 to 6:00 p.m., there was a thunder unlike anything I’ve ever heard before in my life. It was cloudy and a mild storm was threatening, but no rain at that point. The thunder sounded like something crashing into or onto the house. It went on for a longer period that I would have expected and increased in intensity. It was probably only a few seconds, but it seemed very strange. The house rumbled and rattled. I was in a room that would not have shown the lightning that accompanied it but I heard from others that there was lightning.
At first I thought it could be the beginning of an earthquake or a tree falling. If I had been downtown, I would have thought it was a building crashing to the ground. When I realized it was probably thunder I thought it must have hit the house or the ground right outside my house. What is more strange is that the next day my students (I teach kindergarten) told of the same experience except they live at various differences away from my house, but all within a five mile radius. My students who lived further away than that had not heard it. They reported seeing the lightning and felt like the thunder was right over their houses. If it had been a typical lightning/thunder strike there would have been a few seconds between the lightning and the thunder, but all of them reported that they happened at the same time. Another anomaly was that that was the only thunder that I heard. I’m wondering if you have received any other reports of this event?
Loud boom outside of house, Elizabethtown Kentucky May 9 2013
At 5am in Elizabethtown KY (south of Louisville), ON MAY 9th, I heard a large boom almost like an explosion but sounded like something fell out of the sky. Right in front of my house. Very frightening! I was literally shaken up.
Mystery Boom in Rockford, Illinois (NW Chicago) May 6 2013
There was a huge ‘BOOM!’ outside of my house, accompanied by a flash of blue light. All of the neighbors are outside talking about it. It happened at about 8:10pm, and sounded like a huge crack of lightning hit somewhere, but that’s not what happened.
Large unexplained loud boom, Shingletown California May 5 2013
I, along with most of my neighborhood, heard an unexplained very loud boom approx. 10pm on May 5th. No blown transformer, no earthquake, nothing. At first since I live in a forest I imagined a large fallen tree. Was not. This boom was heard for miles around. I read nothing in the news about a meteorite explosion even though this occurred at the peak of meteor showers. We are all at a loss. No meth lab blown either. We are 18 miles west of Lassen Volcanic Park and at 3500 foot elevation in a small forest town, Shingletown, California. Some neighbors reported their house shook and windows rattled.
Shingletown is near Lassen Volcanic National Park is 181 miles northeast of Lakeport, California.