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Searching for Solutions to a Crisis Decades in the Making

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Enlarge (credit: Makiko Tanigawa / Getty Images)

Island Press is “the nation’s leading publisher on environmental issues.” In its latest release, Thicker than Water, Erica Cirino, a photojournalist and licensed wildlife rehabilitator, explores what becomes of plastic—all 8 billion or so tons of it that humans have manufactured in the last seventy-ish years. 

Plastic’s greatest strength is also its greatest flaw: It takes eons to break down. It breaks apart, into smaller and smaller micro- and nano-sized particles. But unlike natural materials like wood and glass, plastic doesn’t break down into its constituent chemicals. Those micro- and nano-sized particles are still plastic. According to Alice Zhu, a graduate student studying plastics at the University of Toronto, this is because the carbon-carbon bonds that form the backbone of most plastic polymers require an immense amount of energy to break apart. And because these bonds are in synthetic arrangements, there are no microorganisms that can break most of them down (yet).

The big asymmetry

There is a marked disconnect between how long plastic sticks around and how long we get utility from it. Many single-use items, like straws and cutlery, are used for only minutes; thin plastic bags, like those needlessly wrapped around produce and almost everything we order online (and even plastic cutlery), are immediately thrown away. This thin plastic is made of low density polyethylene, which is the most difficult kind to recycle and emits more climate-warming methane and ethylene when exposed to sunlight than other, harder types of plastic. It is also one of the most commonly produced.

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Article: arstechnica.com

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Omnitrak’s National City Pride Survey Uncancels Top Metro Destinations

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New York Ranks #1, Followed by San Diego, Los Angeles, Nashville, Seattle; Urban Life Reconstitutes New Communities, Including Cats and Dogs

(PRWeb February 18, 2022)

Read the full story at https://www.prweb.com/releases/omnitraks_national_city_pride_survey_uncancels_top_metro_destinations/prweb18505132.htm

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First-Ever App-based Platform for Men’s Health Now Available In…

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Bastion Health, the first-ever comprehensive app-based telehealth platform for men’s health specializing in reproductive and prostate health, is now available to Florida residents.

(PRWeb January 13, 2022)

Read the full story at https://www.prweb.com/releases/2022/1/prweb18422689.htm

Source Here: prweb.com

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Ships From 1,581 Ports May Go to Antarctica, Bringing Unwanted Guests

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Enlarge / Tourist boats could potentially bring invasive species to the Antarctic region. (credit: Andrew Peacock)

Right now, the Antarctic and the waters around it are surprisingly free of invasive species. According to new research, however, that situation might change in the not-too-distant future, thanks to a shocking level of connectivity with ports across the world. Ships can accidentally carry a large array of marine life, which can in turn colonize new places (like the world’s polar south), outcompete native life, and generally wreak havoc on an ecosystem. New research has traced the paths of the various research vessels, tourist ships, and fishing boats that chug along through the icy waters of the Antarctic.

According to Arlie McCarthy, a researcher in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology and the British Antarctic Survey, these watercraft all carry with them a risk of unwanted visitors. And the visitors may have more chances to relocate than we once thought.

“We know from other cold areas in the world, including the Arctic, that things growing on the hulls of ships absolutely do get transported from place to place, and it is one of the major sources of marine introductions around the world,” McCarthy told Ars. “We also know that ships going into Antarctica do have things growing on them. What we didn’t know until this point was good detail on where those ships go.”

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Original Post: arstechnica.com

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