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.
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Image Source- capitalwired.com
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.