We are well aware that plastic is starting to cover our planet at an alarming rate. Everything from plastic bags that hold our groceries to plastic bottles are filling up our landfills, polluting our oceans and even being burned and releasing toxic chemicals into our air.
Plastic takes a REAL LONG TIME to biodegrade
In our modern society plastic bottles are pretty much everywhere. They come from water bottles, reusable utensils, all the way to soda bottles. Every single year there are more and more of them that are filling up the landfills. How long does it really take for a normal plastic bottle to biodegrade?
We all know that all of the different kinds of plastics that are out there all degrade at different times, but the average time that it takes for a plastic bottle to completely degrade is at the least 450 years. Some bottles do not completely degrade for 1000 years!
To add to that, where you aware that 90% of all bottles made each year aren’t even recycled? Kind of makes you think twice about that soda or water bottle, doesn’t it? Finally, there are bottles that are made with Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) which will never biodegrade.
About 1.5 million barrels of oil are used every year to make plastic bottles, and even more oil is burned transporting them. Most of the time, the water inside the bottles has more contaminants than regular old tap water, meaning you could be drinking some serious problems. The EPA has more strict standards on tap water than the FDA does for bottled water, which is something to think about when you’re thirsty! And those reusable bottles? Make sure you’re not a collector, because those will never biodegrade.
Plastic is finding its way into everything natural
Plastic is getting into everything. The global fishing industry dumps an estimated 150,000 tons of plastic into the oceans every year, that also includes plastic nets, packaging, buoys, and lines. An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash, which most of which is plastic, is dumped into the world’s oceans.
The North Pacific Gyre (The Great Pacific Garbage Patch)
Yes, that’s right there is a Great Pacific Garbage Patch that has collected into a large mass that is located in the central North Pacific Ocean and is roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N.
There have been many scientists that have suggested that this enormous patch extends over an extremely wide area. The estimated ranges for the mass are from an area the size of Texas to one that is larger than the whole continental United States. In recent data that was collected from pacific albatross populations that strongly suggest that there may even be two distinct zones of this concentrated debris in the Pacific.
Recently a group of researchers discovered another major concern to our local water supplies and rivers: Microplastic.
Microplastics from Water Treatment Plants
There are actually millions of different tiny pieces of plastic that are escaping wastewater treatment plant filters and winding back into natural rivers where they could contaminate the food system and water supplies, according to the brand new research that is being presented here in this article.
What exactly are microplastics you might ask? Well, they are small pieces of plastic that are so small that they are less than 5 millimeters or (0.20 inches) wide. They are becoming a huge environmental concern in ocean waters, where they can damage the ecosystem to the point of also causing great harm to ocean animals. Not to mention that these plastics are also getting into freshwater rivers.
Rivers are the only source of drinking water for many communities and also creates habitats for wildlife. The microplastics are starting to enter into rivers and is affecting the river ecosystems, according to assistant professor from Loyola University Chicago, Timothy Hoellein. This plastic is being potentially eaten by fish and winding up in our bodies as well.
“Rivers have less water in them (than oceans), and we rely on that water much more intensely,” Hoellein said.
In a study, Hoellein and his team looked at 10 different urban rivers in the Illinois area. They found out that the water downstream from a wastewater treatment plant had a much higher concentration of these microplastics than water that was upstream from the plant.
The team’s initial estimates suggested that wastewater treatment plants are catching 90% or more of the incoming microplastics. The team found out that the amount of microplastics being released daily with treated wastewater into rivers is significant, ranging from 15,000 to 4.5 million particles per day, per treatment plant, according to the new research.
“[Wastewater treatment plants] do a great job of doing what they are designed to do — which is treat waste for major pathogens and remove excess chemicals like carbon and nitrogen from the water that is released back into the river,” Hoellein said. “But they weren’t designed to filter out these tiny particles.”
Hoellein said that he and his scientists are working hard to figure out just how much plastic staying in the rivers and how much of it ends up in the oceans. By studying microplastics in the rivers scientists could begin to better understand the entire lifecycle of these little microplastics.
“The study of microplastics shouldn’t be separated by an artificial disciplinary boundary,” he said. “These aquatic ecosystems are all connected.”
It seems that so much of our trash still ends up in the oceans and rivers of our world. To some people, it may be too hard to make a conscious shift to being more aware of where our waste goes and how to make less of it. So with that being said it seems that if we continue down the path we are on with how we handle plastic bottles and other trash then all of our fresh clean sources of water will all be contaminated.
What did you think about this topic? Leave us a comment and join the discussion below.
Image Source- capitalwired.com
WATCH: Video Shows Bullets Fly as Armored Car Crew Narrowly Escapes Brutal Heist
Dramatic dash cam footage from Pretoria, South Africa, shows the moment that the crew of an armored car narrowly escaped an attempt by armed robes to stage a heist.
The shocking video shows a pair of private security officers transporting cash in a bulletproof Toyota truck on April 22 before they suddenly come under attack by armed assailants.
For the first minute of the roughly three-minute-long video, the security guards can be seen routinely driving down a highway.
The vehicle then comes under fire as bullets can be heard slamming into the driver side of the car, with the window by the driver’s side shattering.
The driver, who maintains his calm and composure during the attack, manages to escape amid the traffic. He also seems to slam into one of the two vehicles belonging to the attackers.
“They’re going to shoot. They’re going to f**king shoot,” the driver then says, urging his colleague to pull out the rifle and prepare to defend their lives.
As gunshots continue to ring out, the two drive silently as the tension builds. The driver then shouts to his colleague: “Phone Robbie, phone Josh! Ask them where they are.”
As the video ends, the driver can be seen stopping the vehicle and grabbing his colleague’s rifle. At that point, it becomes clear that the assailants have realized that their attack was futile they had already fled the scene.
“The suspects fired several shots at the [Cash-In-Transit] vehicle in an attempt to stop it during a high-speed chase,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo , reports News24.
“The driver of the CIT vehicle managed to evade the robbers for a while but later stopped in wait for the robbers,” Naidoo added. “The robbers fled without taking any money. No arrests have yet been made.”
Online users have praised the steel nerves of the armored car’s crew in navigating what could have been a deadly attack.
After Strong Backlash, NYPD Kicks Robotic Dog “Spot” to the Curb
The New York City Police Department decided this week to stop leasing a robotic dog from Boston Dynamics following a sustained outcry from residents and lawmakers, who denounced the use of the high-tech, four-legged device in low-income neighborhoods as a misallocation of public resources and violation of civil liberties.
When the NYPD acquired the K-9 machine last August, officials portrayed “Digidog”—the department’s name for the camera-equipped, 70-pound robot—as “a futuristic tool that could go places that were too dangerous to send officers,” the New York Times reported earlier this week.
Inspector Frank Digiacomo of the department’s Technical Assistance Response Unit said in a television interview in December: “This dog is going to save lives. It’s going to protect people. It’s going to protect officers.”
Instead—thanks to strong backlash from critics, including people who live in the Bronx apartment complex and the Manhattan public housing building where the robotic dog was deployed in recent weeks—the department is returning “Spot,” as Boston Dynamics calls the device, months earlier than expected.
According to the Times:
In response to a subpoena from City Councilman Ben Kallos and Council Speaker Corey Johnson requesting records related to the device, police officials said that a contract worth roughly $94,000 to lease the robotic dog from its maker, Boston Dynamics, had been terminated on April 22.
John Miller, the police department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, confirmed on Wednesday that the contract had been canceled and that the dog had been returned to Boston Dynamics or would be soon.
Miller told the Times that the police had initially planned to continue testing the K-9 machine’s capabilities until August, when the lease had been scheduled to end.
“Robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in response. “Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc. consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?”
And earlier this month, as Common Dreams reported, footage of the robotic dog walking through a Manhattan public housing building went viral, sparking additional outrage and prompting a city council investigation.
“Why the hell do we need robot police dogs?” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) asked at the time.
While there are “people living in poverty, struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head, take care of their kids, afford child care—all this going on, and now we got damn robot police dogs walking down the street,” Bowman lamented.
Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who urged the police department to reconsider its use of the robot following objections from residents and lawmakers, said he was “glad the Digidog was put down.”
“It’s creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers,” Neidhardt said.
Republished from CommonDreams.org under Creative Commons
Senate Intelligence Leaders Say Mystery “Sonic Weapon” Attacks on U.S. Officials Increasing
After it was revealed Thursday that US intelligence is investigating at least two potential “directed energy” sonic attacks on White House personnel – one of which is alleged to have happened just off White House grounds – the US Senate Intelligence Committee weighed in on Friday, saying such mysterious incidents appear to be happening with greater frequency worldwide.
Senators Mark Warner (D) and Marco Rubio (R) agreed that such microwave energy attacks have gone on for “nearly five years” and have targeted “US government personnel in Havana, Cuba and elsewhere around the world.” In a joint statement the two ranking members said, “This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing. The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to get to the bottom of this,” according to Reuters.
As with the late 2016 into 2017 ‘Havana Syndrome’ attacks in which some 50 diplomatic personnel reported experiencing strange symptoms from vomiting to concussions to extreme nausea to chronic headaches, which was believed the result of some kind of undetected ‘directed energy’ weapon, the most recent incidents saw media reports speculate that Russia or China might be behind them.
It was starting last week that the mysterious incidents returned to national media spotlight after defense officials said they believe Russia is likely behind microwave energy weapon attacks on US troops in northeast Syria. Apparently some US troops occupying the country began reporting”flu-like symptoms” which caused the DoD to investigate possible linkage to microwave or directed energy weapons on the battlefield of Syria. Politico reported that “officials identified Russia as a likely culprit, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.”
Despite instances of strange symptoms and even head injuries experienced by diplomatic personnel or troops abroad, no “energy weapon” has ever been found or uncovered that’s believed to have caused any of these alleged attacks. Most often US personnel report the symptoms enough time after the alleged attack took place for the “plot” and culprit to remain undetected. Naturally this has resulted in immense skepticism and pushback.
One deeply critical response to all the reporting late this week quipped: “Another day, another mostly anonymously sourced story about unidentified assailants supposedly assaulting U.S. government employees around the globe. This time, according to CNN, federal agencies are looking into something closer to home: symptoms suffered by a White House employee in Virginia and National Security Council staffer near the south lawn of the White House.”
“Although a government report later concluded the most likely cause was instead some sort of ‘directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy’ (i.e. a microwave weapon), that conclusion was primarily based on a lack of evidence for other causes and received strong pushback from many others in the scientific community.”
The commentary in Gizmodo pointed out further that “No hard evidence of any kind for the technology has ever been publicly presented by the US government. Reports citing government officials who suspect Russian intelligence to be involved have largely been anonymous and buoyed primarily by rumors the Russian government may have resumed Soviet-era research into experimental weapons.”
Republished from ZeroHedge.com with permission
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