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Coca-Cola Admits It Produces 3.3 Million Tons of New Plastic Packaging Per Year

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The world is literally swimming in the filth produced by private industry, with our oceans becoming a vast dumping-ground for waste as plastic manufacturers and petrochemical companies continue to rake in profits with little regard for the long-term cost of a growing plastic garbage crisis.

Thus it comes as a surprise that one of the biggest producers of plastic packaging, the Coca-Cola Company, has admitted that it produces a staggering 3.3 million tons of plastic packaging per year, the rough equivalent of 200,000 bottles every minute.

The company had previously refused to release the mind-boggling figure, but finally disclosed the information to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity that has been campaigning alongside UN Environment to convince governments and the world’s largest plastic producing corporations to commit to reduce and ultimately eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging by 2025.

The charity released a report that also includes data from over 30 other companies – including Mars, The Kellogg Company and conglomerates Unilever and Nestlé – who agreed to disclose their annual plastic packaging volumes, a move hailed by the foundation as “an important step toward greater transparency.”  According to the report, the companies collectively produce eight million tons of plastic packaging on an annual basis.

The exact figures of the plastic usage isn’t broken down in the report, but according to The Guardian, Coca-Cola’s reported volume is equal to 108 polyethylene terephthalate or PET plastic bottles per year – over a fifth of the global PET bottle output, which stands at about 500 billion per year.

About 150 companies have agreed to commit to the foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, but many of the top-tier corporations – including, L’Oreal, Pepsico, H&M, Walmart, and others – continue to refuse to own up to how much plastic packaging they produce.

The foundation’s commitment also calls to innovate to ensure that 100 percent of all plastic packaging can be easily recycled, reused or composted by 2025, and for a circular economy to be created that boosts the volume of plastic that is reused or recycled into new packaging.

Airlines, food chains and hotels have abstained from the commitment, as have most raw material plastic producers – with the exception of two companies, Indorama and Borealis.

The leader of the initiative, Sander Defruyt, has chided industry leaders for not moving with the urgency required to tackle a growing plastic waste crisis, telling The Guardian:

“They are still far from truly matching the scale of the problem, particularly when it comes to elimination of unnecessary items and innovation towards reuse models.”

“Ambition levels must continue to rise to make real strides in addressing global plastic pollution by 2025, and moving from commitment to action is crucial.”

The use of plastic is key to the workings of the global economy, and while it causes huge harm to the environment, its usage has also paved the way to spectacular advances in modern society in the fields of medicine, food preservation, water transportation, hygiene, high technology and a range of other applications.

However, in an economy that places the greatest incentive on short-term profit and a culture that revolves around mass consumerism and convenience, plastics have also become a curse – with a “throwaway” mentality displacing durable, reusable, and washable products in favor of single-use disposables.

Plastics and microplastics have inundated the world’s oceans and water supplies, leaching carcinogenic toxins and chemicals into the marine environment, with plastic drink containers trapping and confining – and ultimately killing – small marine organisms and small fish.

According to a report prepared for the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by 2050 it is estimated that the plastic waste in the ocean will outweigh all fish.

And as fracked natural gas supplies increase in the United States and across the world, the cost of producing and exporting plastics has become cheaper, making the plastic market hugely profitable once again for the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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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.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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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.

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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years

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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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