Futurity: DISCARDED COVID MASKS AND GLOVES ARE REALLY BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. When it comes to COVID-19 masks, gloves, and disinfectants, the transformation from protection to pollution happens quickly, but the damage can last for centuries.
Vox: Why 99% of ocean plastic pollution is “missing”. A lot of it is probably hiding in plain sight. All of this plastic consumption — and the world’s inadequacy at containing it — means an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. It is remarkably difficult to track all of this plastic, but in 2019, a group of researchers affiliated with the Ocean Cleanup published a study about plastic debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They excavated plastic from it and, using what they found, made a model showing what is likely floating in each of the five (at least) ocean garbage patches around the world. They also estimated that what’s floating on the surface of the water accounts for only 1 percent of what we put into the ocean.
National Geographic: Plastic gets to the oceans through over 1,000 rivers. Scientists used to think 20 rivers at most carried most plastic into the oceans, but now they know it’s far more, complicating potential solutions. New research published today in Science Advances has turned that thinking on its head. Scientists found that 80 percent of plastic waste is distributed by more than 1,000 rivers, not simply 10 or 20. They also found that most of that waste is carried by small rivers that flow through densely populated urban areas, not the largest rivers.
CNN: ‘The ocean is our life-support system’: Kerstin Forsberg on why we must protect our seas. After finishing her degree, the Peruvian biologist began working on a sea turtle protection project in the north of the country. Two years later, in 2009, Forsberg founded “Planeta Océano,” an organization that aims to empower local communities to look after the ocean. Its work with giant manta rays led to Peru’s government granting the species legal protection.