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More on the Environment and impact on Montserrat’s coral reefs

_75975453_healthymixofcoralinbermuda(c)altaircanada

Healthy mix of coral in Bermuda

coral over grown in jamaica

Coral over grown in Jamaica

The Department of Environment (DoE) here is cautioning residents on the wanton disposal of plastic waste on island.

The warning comes as concern grows globally over the threat that widespread plastic waste poses to marine life and accompanying coastal damages.

A recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Year Book 2014 reports that plastic contamination threatens marine life, tourism, fisheries and businesses.

The Department of Environment said plastic waste if not disposed of properly could have a negative impact on fishing grounds and the turtle population where if it were swallowed could result in death.

It follows that death could also result should entanglement occur.

Two UNEP reports released on the opening day of the first United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi stated that the concern was growing worldwide with conservative estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems standing at US$13 billion each year.

The eleventh edition of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Year Book looks at ten issues flagged as emerging by previous reports over the past decade, including plastic waste in the ocean.

bleaching coral

bleaching coral in Guadeloupe

The UNEP Year Book 2014 gives an update on each issue and provides options for action.

Other areas covered include the environmental impacts of excess nitrogen and marine aquaculture, air pollution’s deadly toll, and the potential of citizen science.

It finds that the overall natural capital cost of plastic use in the consumer goods sector each year is US$75 billion—financial impacts resulting from issues such as pollution of the marine environment or air pollution caused by incinerating plastic.

The report says that over 30 per cent of the natural capital costs of plastic are due to greenhouse gas emissions from raw material extraction and processing.

Sea-urchin

Sea-urchin

However, it notes that marine pollution is the largest downstream cost, and that the figure of US$13 billion is likely a significant underestimate.

It says the key course of action is to prevent plastic debris from entering the environment in the first place, which translates into a single powerful objective: reduce, reuse, recycle.

The UNEP report says a large and unquantifiable amount of plastic waste enters the ocean from littering, poorly managed landfills, tourist activities and fisheries.

Some of this material, it explains, sinks to the ocean floor, while some floats and can travel over great distances on ocean currents—polluting shorelines and accumulating in massive mid-ocean gyres.

The report says there have been many reliable reports of environmental damage due to plastic waste: mortality or illness when ingested by sea creatures such as turtles, entanglement of animals such as dolphins and whales, and damage to critical habitats such as coral reefs.

 

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_75975453_healthymixofcoralinbermuda(c)altaircanada

Healthy mix of coral in Bermuda

coral over grown in jamaica

Coral over grown in Jamaica

The Department of Environment (DoE) here is cautioning residents on the wanton disposal of plastic waste on island.

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The warning comes as concern grows globally over the threat that widespread plastic waste poses to marine life and accompanying coastal damages.

A recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Year Book 2014 reports that plastic contamination threatens marine life, tourism, fisheries and businesses.

The Department of Environment said plastic waste if not disposed of properly could have a negative impact on fishing grounds and the turtle population where if it were swallowed could result in death.

It follows that death could also result should entanglement occur.

Two UNEP reports released on the opening day of the first United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi stated that the concern was growing worldwide with conservative estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems standing at US$13 billion each year.

The eleventh edition of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Year Book looks at ten issues flagged as emerging by previous reports over the past decade, including plastic waste in the ocean.

bleaching coral

bleaching coral in Guadeloupe

The UNEP Year Book 2014 gives an update on each issue and provides options for action.

Other areas covered include the environmental impacts of excess nitrogen and marine aquaculture, air pollution’s deadly toll, and the potential of citizen science.

It finds that the overall natural capital cost of plastic use in the consumer goods sector each year is US$75 billion—financial impacts resulting from issues such as pollution of the marine environment or air pollution caused by incinerating plastic.

The report says that over 30 per cent of the natural capital costs of plastic are due to greenhouse gas emissions from raw material extraction and processing.

Sea-urchin

Sea-urchin

However, it notes that marine pollution is the largest downstream cost, and that the figure of US$13 billion is likely a significant underestimate.

It says the key course of action is to prevent plastic debris from entering the environment in the first place, which translates into a single powerful objective: reduce, reuse, recycle.

The UNEP report says a large and unquantifiable amount of plastic waste enters the ocean from littering, poorly managed landfills, tourist activities and fisheries.

Some of this material, it explains, sinks to the ocean floor, while some floats and can travel over great distances on ocean currents—polluting shorelines and accumulating in massive mid-ocean gyres.

The report says there have been many reliable reports of environmental damage due to plastic waste: mortality or illness when ingested by sea creatures such as turtles, entanglement of animals such as dolphins and whales, and damage to critical habitats such as coral reefs.