Gonzaga study reveals high levels of microplastics in Spokane River, suggests particles in drinking water as well

The tenuous plastic fibers, visible only through the magnified view of a microscope, sent Jacob Peterson reeling into eddies of anxiety.

The sudden upwelling of fear wasn’t completely new. The biology student suffered from anxiety in other areas of his life. But this was the first time his own research triggered the feeling.

“Realizing how much microplastic was in tap water and our drinking water really freaked me out,” he … [more…]

There’s plastic in your tap water, beer, and table salt

photo: dead bird consumed plastic. There’s plastic in your tap water, beer, and table salt

Photo: An albatross that has succumbed to starvation due to overconsumption of plastic particles. Chris Jordan via Ars Electronica on Flickr.

Kosuth M, Mason SA, Wattenberg EV (2018) Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0194970. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194970

You’ve seen it; plastic bottles discarded on the beach, photos of marine life starved on a diet of plastic straws, shopping bags adrift in a flotilla of single-use … [more…]

Teenager Invents Plastic Bag Made From Shrimp

photo: large whale shark swimming alongside a plastic bag

Science fair winner Angelina Arora of Australia demonstrated a biodegradable plastic made from natural material.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA What were you doing when you were a teenager?

Riding bikes, watching movies, learning trigonometry perhaps? Angelina Arora, from Sydney Girls High School, is doing all these things, but Angelina Arora is not your average teenager.

Arora explained to National Geographic the moment when she first understood the impact plastic was having on … [more…]

Microplastics are getting into mosquitoes, contaminating new food chains

photo: fresh water can breed mosquitoes. Microplastics are getting into mosquitoes and contaminating new food chains

Photo: Mosquitoes leave the water and take microplastics with them. Shaun Wilkinson/Shutterstock

There is no doubt that plastic pollution in oceans is a growing worldwide problem. The internet is full of images of seabirds and other marine animals entangled in plastic waste, and animals starve because their guts are blocked with plastic bags.

But the problem goes much deeper than this. Much plastic pollution is in the form of microplastics, … [more…]

The Surprising Solution to Ocean Plastic

Still frame from video: David Katz TED Talk on ocean plastic

This talk was presented at a TED Institute event given in partnership with IBM. TED editors featured it among our selections on the home page. Read more about the TED Institute.

Can we solve the problem of ocean plastic pollution and end extreme poverty at the same time? That’s the ambitious goal of The Plastic Bank: a worldwide chain of stores where everything from school tuition to cooking fuel and … [more…]