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"Just One Word: Microplastics"

Started by Recusant, December 22, 2021, 07:45:23 PM

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Recusant

More on the PFAS front:

"Scientists find a simple way to destroy 'forever chemicals' — by beheading them" | Live Science

QuoteSynthetic compounds known as "forever chemicals" because they never break down in the environment can actually be destroyed — by beheading.

Scientists discovered a simple destruction technique that works on 10 types of these chemicals, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Researchers hope that the method will expose weaknesses in even more PFAS-class substances, leading to paths for removing these chemicals from drinking water easily and cheaply.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Science on Aug. 18.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Recusant

Oh yeah, the worms will help us.  ;D

"Plastic-eating worms may offer solution to mounting waste, Stanford researchers discover" | Stanford News Service

QuoteConsider the plastic foam cup. Every year, Americans throw away 2.5 billion of them. And yet, that waste is just a fraction of the 33 million tons of plastic Americans discard every year. Less than 10 percent of that total gets recycled, and the remainder presents challenges ranging from water contamination to animal poisoning.

Enter the mighty mealworm. The tiny worm, which is the larvae form of the darkling beetle, can subsist on a diet of Styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene, according to two companion studies co-authored by Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford. Microorganisms in the worms' guts biodegrade the plastic in the process – a surprising and hopeful finding.

"Our findings have opened a new door to solve the global plastic pollution problem," Wu said.

[Continues . . .]

Papers are behind a paywall.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Asmodean

QuoteConsider the plastic foam cup. Every year, Americans throw away 2.5 billion of them. And yet, that waste is just a fraction of the 33 million tons of plastic Americans discard every year. Less than 10 percent of that total gets recycled, and the remainder presents challenges ranging from water contamination to animal poisoning.

The above is misleading. It proposes a dichotomy between recycling and various degrees of doom. There is a third option; burn it for energy. The USA - the example they use - does that, so what percentage of plastic waste gets burned? Would increasing that bracket be a viable strategy in combatting the problem that the "eternal" plastics present?
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

Tank

Sweden has run out of rubbish to burn to create power. It is importing rubbish now. The up side is the removal of plastic from the system. The down side is this process is far from carbon neutral in that the plastic originates mostly from oil. So a bit of a poison challis.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt." ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Asmodean

In a way. Still, we do need energy to keep them proverbial cogs turning. With the electrification of industry and transportation, what reliable short-to-mid term solutions to the increased demand are there, except for coal, oil and gas?
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

Recusant

After some at least mildly positive items, back to the prevalent theme of the thread . . .

"How much microplastic do whales eat? Up to 10 million pieces per day, research finds" | Phys.org

QuoteThe largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth ingest the tiniest specks of plastic in colossal amounts, Stanford University scientists have found.

ublished in Nature Communications, the study focuses on blue, fin, and humpback whales and their consumption of plastic fragments no bigger than a few grains of sand, which are commonly called microplastics. The authors combined measures of microplastic concentrations up and down the water column off the coast of California with detailed logs of where hundreds of whales carrying tracking devices foraged for food between 2010 and 2019.

They found the whales predominantly feed 50 to 250 meters below the surface, a depth that coincides with the highest concentrations of microplastic in the open ocean. The planet's biggest creature—the blue whale—ingests the most plastic, at an estimated 10 million pieces per day as it feeds almost exclusively on shrimplike animals called krill.

"They're lower on the food chain than you might expect by their massive size, which puts them closer to where the plastic is in the water. There's only one link: The krill eat the plastic, and then the whale eats the krill," said study co-author Matthew Savoca, a postdoctoral scholar at Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford's marine laboratory on the Monterey Peninsula.

[Continues . . .]

The paper is open access:

"Field measurements reveal exposure risk to microplastic ingestion by filter-feeding megafauna" | Nature Communications

QuoteAbstract:

Microparticles, such as microplastics and microfibers, are ubiquitous in marine food webs. Filter-feeding megafauna may be at extreme risk of exposure to microplastics, but neither the amount nor pathway of microplastic ingestion are well understood. Here, we combine depth-integrated microplastic data from the California Current Ecosystem with high-resolution foraging measurements from 191 tag deployments on blue, fin, and humpback whales to quantify plastic ingestion rates and routes of exposure.

We find that baleen whales predominantly feed at depths of 50–250 m, coinciding with the highest measured microplastic concentrations in the pelagic ecosystem. Nearly all (99%) microplastic ingestion is predicted to occur via trophic transfer. We predict that fish-feeding whales are less exposed to microplastic ingestion than krill-feeding whales. Per day, a krill-obligate blue whale may ingest 10 million pieces of microplastic, while a fish-feeding humpback whale likely ingests 200,000 pieces of microplastic. For species struggling to recover from historical whaling alongside other anthropogenic pressures, our findings suggest that the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors require further attention.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Tank

It really is a terrible state of affairs.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt." ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Asmodean

I've been reading about India's ban on single use plastics having failed. Shall see if I can find the article in English.

We have most certainly failed here, as while I cannot get a straw that doesn't taste like cardboard with my soft drink, I cannot get a single use package of butter or the like without a plastic box.

As Tom Macdonald once put it, "No more plastic straws wrapped in paper, just paper straws wrapped in plastic." Seen a little broadly and metaphorically, it certainly looks precisely like that.
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

Tank

Quote from: Asmodean on November 03, 2022, 01:50:04 PMI've been reading about India's ban on single use plastics having failed. Shall see if I can find the article in English.

We have most certainly failed here, as while I cannot get a straw that doesn't taste like cardboard with my soft drink, I cannot get a single use package of butter or the like without a plastic box.

As Tom Macdonald once put it, "No more plastic straws wrapped in paper, just paper straws wrapped in plastic." Seen a little broadly and metaphorically, it certainly looks precisely like that.

I have my own set of reusable metal straws which I keep in the glove compartment of my car.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt." ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Asmodean

I... May hereby be admitting to having a bunch of plastic straws and like... Washing them.  :sad sigh:
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

Tank

Quote from: Asmodean on November 03, 2022, 06:24:35 PMI... May hereby be admitting to having a bunch of plastic straws and like... Washing them.  :sad sigh:

Well at least that's not single use.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt." ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Icarus

Drilling down to the root cause of the problem: it is caused by people. Too damned many people who use too many straws, plastic bottles, containers, packaging, and even clothing and paints, whiskey bottles, automotive components, and a plethora of other things containing polymeric molecular components.

Those Jesus people were right about the need to refrain from copulation, but they do not preach this need for the reasons that we are herewith confronted.



 

Dark Lightning

Whaaaat? They were told to "Go forth and multiply!"! The "don't do it" part is just to set up sexual tension and guilt for exploitation.

As for the microplastics, I suspect that they will move up the food chain until we are all as plastic as the movie stars. J/K, the plastic part is serious business. I have seen that there are bacteria that eat that stuff, though. Bacteria will get me in the end, anyway. :shrug:

Asmodean

Quote from: Icarus on November 04, 2022, 03:21:56 AMDrilling down to the root cause of the problem: it is caused by people. Too damned many people who use too many straws, plastic bottles, containers, packaging, and even clothing and paints, whiskey bottles, automotive components, and a plethora of other things containing polymeric molecular components.

Those Jesus people were right about the need to refrain from copulation, but they do not preach this need for the reasons that we are herewith confronted.
Yes.

It's not just that too many people are, and that too many people use them plastics what get into my whale burger or tuna salad, but it's also how they treat their waste, which I think it is fair enough to call "as cheaply as possible."

There are regions where a sort of landfill economy has emerged, where people collect and sell waste products for money. Were it a bit more profitable, perhaps people would consider not throwing something in the nearest river or on a landfill? Like, the plastic bottle scheme we have around here seems to be working - when you buy a soft drink, you pay a couple of coins for the bottle. Upon returning said bottle, you get them coins back. Even here at work, people collect the empty bottles, then we return them and use the money to buy chocolates for the lounge and stuff like that. It only works because there is incentive - if there was not, we'd all just toss our bottles into the office bins, from which I'm almost certain the road goes straight to the landfill.

Of course, the road to the oceans may be a bit more complex than that. Autosorting and burning combustibles for energy is a thing, still, I think personal incentives may come far without costing the tax payer much.
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.