Plastic Pollution - how we litter the seas with plastic and how we do not

Choose To Refuse

An action of the initiative Plastic Free July

Join the challenge and ‘Choose To Refuse’ single-use plastic during July.

Imagine a world without plastic waste. That’s our mission – to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling, worldwide.

​Will you join us and give up single-use plastic this July?




Dead whale washed up in Philippines had 40kg of plastic bags in its stomach

Darrell Blatchley pulling plastic out of the juvenile male Cuvier’s beaked whale.
© Darrell Blatchley/D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc.

The Guardian, 18.03.2019, Author: Hannah Ellis-Peterson

A young whale that washed up in the Philippines died from “gastric shock” after ingesting 40kg of plastic bags.

Marine biologists and volunteers from the D’Bone Collector Museum in Davao City, in the Philippine island of Mindanao, were shocked to discover the brutal cause of death for the young Cuvier’s beaked whale, which washed ashore on Saturday.

In a damning statement on their Facebook page, the museum said they uncovered “40 kilos of plastic bags, including 16 rice sacks. 4 banana plantation style bags and multiple shopping bags” in the whale’s stomach after conducting an autopsy.

Images from the autopsy showed endless piles of rubbish being extracted from the inside of the animal, which was said to have died from “gastric shock” after ingesting all the plastic.

The D’ Bone Collector Museum biologists who conducted the autopsy said it was “the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale”.

“It’s disgusting,” they added. “Action must be taken by the government against those who continue to treat the waterways and ocean as dumpsters.”

The use of single-use plastic is rampant in south-east Asia. A 2017 report by Ocean Conservancy stated that China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam have been dumping more plastic into the ocean than the rest of the world combined.

Marine biologist Darrell Blatchley, who also owns the D’Bone Collector Museum, said that in the 10 years they have examined dead whales and dolphins, 57 of them were found to have died due to accumulated rubbish and plastic in their stomachs. […]

The entire article can be found here.

The Guardian:

Plastik Soup of Atlas

© Plastic Soup Atlas of the World/ Plastic Soup Foundation/ Island Press

“Plastics have transformed every aspect of our lives. Yet the very properties that make them attractive—they are cheap to make, light, and durable—spell disaster when trash makes its way into the environment. Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution is a beautifully-illustrated survey of the plastics clogging our seas, their impacts on wildlife and people around the world, and inspirational initiatives designed to tackle the problem.” – Island Press

Environment Journal, 03.04.2019, Author: Thomas Barrett

Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution is a beautifully-illustrated book that details the ‘plastic soup’ that is clogging the world’s seas and polluting the environment.

Its author Michiel Roscam Abbing spoke to Environment Journal about ‘plastic fatigue’, how nations can better work together to tackle the issue, and why technology should be the key to cutting down on waste.

What was the most shocking thing you learnt about plastic pollution when researching the book?

The most shocking thing is what is not visible. We breathe microplastics continuously without fully understanding the consequences for our health in the long run.

And what is the impact of increasing concentrations of microplastics in soil? Scientists claim that negative effects on terrestrial ecosystems might have a greater impact than at sea. The most shocking is probably what we don’t know yet.

Why do children seem more engaged with climate change, plastic pollution and other environmental matters than their parents (and grandparents) generation?

Children realise that climate change and problems like ‘plastic soup’ have arisen within one generation —that of their parents. They are uncertain what the world will look like by the time they grow up themselves. While their parents’ generation has profited from plastics, they will be confronted by the negative impacts of plastics on the environment and on their health.

There are some shocking images in your book, such as the turtle stuck in a net, how important have visual mediums such as social media been in raising awareness of the plastic problem?

Some of the images have become iconic and the suffering of animals easily evokes emotion. The impact of these images for raising awareness cannot be underestimated. For the book, we selected images that are beautiful and shocking at the same time. Next to these images, there is context and information. […]

The full interview can be found here.

Plastic Soup Foundation:
Twitter: @plasticsoupfoun
Facebook: @plasticsoupfoundation
Instagram: @plasticsoupfoundation




Study: Every Animal Pulled from the Deepest Trenches of the Ocean Had Plastic in its Gut

© Alan Jamieson / Newcastle University

The Atlantic, 27.02.2019, Author: Ed Yong

Alan Jamieson remembers seeing it for the first time: a small, black fiber floating in a tube of liquid. It resembled a hair, but when Jamieson examined it under a microscope, he realized that the fiber was clearly synthetic—a piece of plastic. And worryingly, his student Lauren Brooks had pulled it from the gut of a small crustacean living in one of the deepest parts of the ocean.

For the past decade, Jamieson, a marine biologist at Newcastle University, has been sending vehicles to the bottom of marine trenches, which can be as deep as the Himalayas are tall. Once there, these landers have collected amphipods—scavenger relatives of crabs and shrimp that thrive in the abyss. Jamieson originally wanted to know how these animals differ from one distant trench to another. But a few years ago, almost on a whim, he decided to analyze their body for toxic, human-made pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which have been banned for decades but which persist in nature for much longer.

The team found PCBs galore. Some amphipods were carrying levels 50 times higher than those seen in crabs from one of China’s most polluted rivers. When the news broke, Jamieson was inundated with calls from journalists and concerned citizens. And in every discussion, one question kept coming up: What about plastics? […]

The entire article can be found here.

The Atlantic:

Further information about the study of “Newcastle University”: