Pollution

A message from the deep

This blog was written by WDC interns at the Scottish Dolphin Centre; Emily, Sadie, Emma and Anna to highlight the problem of plastic pollution. They set themselves a challenge to go plastic free and here they share their experience, struggles and successes.

New solution to plastic pollution

Academics from the University of Bath have come up with a biodegradable alternative for microbeads.

Microbeads are tiny plastic particles used in beauty and skincare products and, despite the fact that bans on their use are coming into force they will continue to be washed out into the oceans, consumed by marine life which humans then eat, allowing potentially harmful effects on the body.

Scientists working at Bath University have now come up with a method to make microbeads out of cellulose, a starch found in wood and plants.

Small caterpillar may be plastic pollution solution

Researchers at Cambridge University may have discovered a solution to the huge plastic pollution problem that the world faces, and it comes in the form of a small caterpillar.

Experiments involving small moth larvae (Galleria mellonella), which eat wax in bee hives, have revealed that they can also eat their way through plastic bags! The larvae then break down the chemical bonds of plastic in the similar way to digesting beeswax.

Oil pipeline leaks into home of endangered beluga whales

An oil pipeline has leaked into the home waters of one of the most endangered populations of beluga whales.

Alaska's Cook Inlet population, near Anchorage, is thought to number around 340 individuals. They were listed as endangered by the US federal government in 2008 and over 3,000 square miles of their home was protected as critical habitat in 2011. Once thought to number as many as 1300 whales, the population declined dramatically by nearly 50% in the mid-90s.

Scientist films plankton ingesting plastic waste

A scientist has recorded a species of plankton consuming plastic microfibre, showing how the lives of even the smallest creatures in the oceans are being impacted by human waste.

Plankton are a prey of several species of large baleen whales as well as many other creatures. While the impact of larger pieces of plastic on wildlife are more obvious to see, this was the first time Dr Richard Kirby had recorded on film this type of waste being consumed by plankton.

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