Plastic oceans

Howard Johnson, Anilao Scuba Dive Centre, Shala Caliao, scuba diving news, PPE, COVID-19, face masks, plastic pollution, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, X-Ray Mag, XRay Magazine, Philippines
Polymeric materials used in face masks can be a potential source of plastic and breakdown into microplastic pollution.

Abandoned face masks found on Philippine reef

The popular dive spot is southeast of the Philippine capital, Manila.

BBC Philippine correspondent Howard Johnson joined dive professionals from Anilao Scuba Dive Centre as they resumed diving, following the national lockdown. The dive centre is affiliated to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Fins, which promotes sustainable marine tourism in South-East Asia.

Car tyres are a major source of ocean microplastics

Tyres a major source of ocean microplastics

A new study conducted at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research suggests wind-borne microplastics are a bigger source of ocean pollution than rivers, the route that has attracted most attention to date.

Airborne transport has received much less attention than rivers because only the smallest particles can be blown by the wind and their size makes them difficult to identify as plastic. The scientists concentrated on fine tyre and brake dust as there is better data on how these are produced than tiny microplastics from other sources, such as plastic bottles and packaging.

Turtles and plastic bags
Plastics floating in the ocean build a coating of algae and microorganisms that smells edible to turtles.

Why do sea turtles eat plastic? Perhaps because it smells good

To understand sea turtle behavior around ocean plastics, the research team compared how sea turtles in a lab setting reacted to smelling odors of turtle food, ocean-soaked plastic, clean plastic and water.

The turtles ignored the scents of clean plastic and water, but responded to the odors of food and ocean-soaked plastics by showing foraging behavior. This included poking their noses out of the water repeatedly as they tried to smell the food source, and increasing their activity as they searched.

NOC hosts Marine Plastic Pollution Talk

On 10 May 2018 David Jones will be talking on "Marine Plastic Pollution: How did we get here and what can we do about it?"

Plastic pollution is undoubtedly one of the biggest environmental issues we face at the moment. Plastic has only been in our lives for around seventy years, so how did we get to where we are, what went wrong? More importantly, what can we do about it?" David Jones.