The devastating environmental impact of plastics

We have also accompanied each of the environmental issues with a video that explains the matter in depth. You can view the clip by pressing the play button on the image. Without a doubt the biggest issue facing the environment is over population of humans.

The devastating environmental impact of plastics

In a study released in the February journal Science, researchers found that human activity -- from over-fishing to greenhouse gases and global warming to the introduction of toxins into the environment — has affected every square mile of ocean on the planet and strongly impacted roughly 40 percent of marine ecosystems.

Worse yet is the alarming growth in cancer cases. Many scientists around the world believe these illnesses are being caused by contamination of the ocean with man-made toxic chemicals. Because marine mammals are at the top of their food chain, the toxins in their food sources accumulates in their bodies, especially in their fatty tissues and breast milk.

Toxins in plankton are consumed by small fish, which are in turn eaten by larger fish, which are eaten by even larger fish. Eventually marine mammals and humans, each higher up the food chain, eat the now-toxic fish, further concentrating the toxins. This bio-concentration is what causes high levels of toxins in dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals.

Nine of the 10 species with the highest polychlorinated biphenyl PCB levels are marine mammals. The Toxic Top Ten: The declining health of ocean-going mammals, especially the increase in various cancers, sends an undeniable message to humans.

Thus dolphins and other marine mammals are showing us our future — unless we change our ways. Marine mammals are sending an unambiguous message to humankind: Toxic Chemicals in The Ocean Environment Scientists have been finding higher and higher levels of man-made chemicals in marine mammal bodies, which have corresponded with increases in mass die-offs, otherwise inexplicable population declines and strandings.

They have found that many of these events are associated with immune system dysfunction, suggestive of broad environmental distress in the oceans. Environmental toxins are spread by wind, rain and currents.

Thus, the toxic waste of one area, such as the United States and now Asia, where industrialized development and contamination are growing rapidly, become the toxic problems of the world. POPs resist environmental breakdown via biological, chemical and photolytic processes, some taking as long as a century to degrade to a safe level.

Even if we totally banned the use of POPs tomorrow, the health problems they cause would remain for many generations. Today new contaminants are a growing problem in marine eco-systems. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers PBDEs are flame retardants used in 85 percent of commercial plastics, foam and textiles.

We are surrounded by them. They are found in computers, television sets, cars, furniture fabrics, foam mattresses, and indoor dust. PBDE concentrations are doubling every four years in marine mammals, according to one study.

The devastating environmental impact of plastics

They are similar in chemical structure to PCBs and are particularly found in very high levels world-wide in harbor seal pups.

PBDE levels between and more than tripled in striped bass and more than doubled in halibut in San Francisco Bay. The fish are large and mobile, and are good indicators of the increasing levels of toxins in the Bay. They have not been banned in the U. California banned two forms of the fire retardants chemicals known to accumulate in the blood of mothers and nursing babies.

PBDEs have been escaping into the environment for years, and are rapidly becoming a major marine health issue. Despite this fact, they are not among the 12 chemicals being considered for reduction of use or elimination by a United Nations treaty.A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today.

As the global population surges towards a. Read National Geographic's latest stories about the environment. Welcome to our blog; in May , we embarked on an experiment to see whether it is possible to shop, eat, clean, wash and clothe ourselves without creating plastic waste.

We are working couple in the UK with two sons in full-time education. Glitter seems like a harmless bit of fun, but its environmental impact has led some scientists to call for it to be banned. Most glitter is made from plastic, and . The environmental impact of shipping includes greenhouse gas emissions, acoustic, and oil International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping were equal to % of the global human-made emissions in and expects them to rise 50 to percent by if no action is taken..

The . A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by , creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as.

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