Attacking plastic waste and single-use, throwaway culture

The reality is that much of the plastic tossed into bins ends up in landfills, or it gets shipped overseas to countries that lack infrastructure to deal with it properly.

…Plastic was never recycled at a high level, and it’s even worse since 2018, when China closed its doors to imported mixed plastic waste. U.S. recyclers have shifted exports to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, but those countries lack the capacity to handle the volume we’re sending, which has brought them new environmental problems.

Moreover, despite our willingness to move plastic waste around the world, only about 9% of the plastic ever made has actually been recycled. We just keep making more of the stuff. If your bathtub was overflowing, you wouldn’t immediately reach for a mop — you’d first turn off the tap. That’s what we need to do with single-use plastics.

…It’s not that there isn’t still a role for recycling in efforts to reduce trash. Cans, bottles, paper and cardboard are highly recyclable.

But we need to be more realistic about the kinds of plastic that can be effectively collected, processed and then reused. Single-stream recycling, which co-mingles different materials for collection, is convenient, but it leads to increased contamination and thus lower quality recyclables.

Even with increased investment in sorting, recycling will never be able keep up with all of the new types of plastics on the market or the ever-increasing flow of plastic waste.

Berkeley isn’t just attacking plastic waste, it’s rejecting our entire throwaway culture – Los Angeles Times



Sonar Can Literally Scare Whales to Death, Study Finds

Between 2002 and 2014, six mass strandings took place in Greece, the Canary Islands and Almería in southeastern Spain, but the dead whales did not appear to be malnourished or sick. However, they displayed “abundant gas bubbles” throughout their veins, blood clots in multiple organs and microscopic hemorrhages “of varying severity” in body tissues.

Beached whales may have experienced “a fight or flight response” that overrode a key diving adaptation: the lowering of heart rate, which reduces oxygen consumption and prevents nitrogen accumulation. The result was hemorrhages and “massive bubble formation in their tissues,” de Quirós explained.

These symptoms of decompression sickness likely afflicted the whales after they were spooked by sonic blasts, according to the study.

Sonar Can Literally Scare Whales to Death, Study Finds


Measles outbreaks are spreading. Medical misinformation is too.

A recent report suggests that half of parents of young children have been exposed on social media to fake news about vaccination, including ominous advertising on Facebook suggesting their children may die from the supposed toxicity of vaccines. Medical misinformation is so widespread that the World Health Organization has recently declared vaccine resistance one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019.

…Officials believe groups like these are a reason for the spread of measles: “These outbreaks are due to the anti-vaccine movement,” 

Measles outbreaks are spreading. Medical misinformation is too. – Vox