Claim: Plastic pollution threat 'on par to global warming'


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Frightened of plastic? Of course not; barring the occasional unsightly pile of junk, plastic is harmless. But the plastic pollution scare just might have what it takes, to serve as the new focus of green conscience.

A seabird common to Australia is being killed by marine plastic pollution at the alarming rate of one in 10, a Senate inquiry has been told.

A study found 11 per cent of young flesh-footed shearwater birds – common visitors to Australian coasts – were dying from ingesting plastic or from plastic chemical contamination, the inquiry into the threat of marine plastic pollution heard.

“This would be happening in other species as well,” the study’s author, marine biologist Dr Jennifer Lavers, told a public hearing in Sydney on Thursday.

The inquiry, called for by Tasmanian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, is investigating the impacts of marine plastic pollution on animals and ecosystems, fisheries, small business and human health.

Dr Lavers’ research partner Ian Hutton said one bird was found with 274 pieces of plastic in its stomach – 14 per cent of its body weight.

“That’s the equivalent of a human carrying a pillowcase full of plastic in his stomach,” he said.

Dr Lavers said although the scale of the marine pollution problem was on par with major challenges such as global warming and sea level rise, research was chronically underfunded.

Read more:

Back in 2010, Marc Morano of ClimateDepot wrote a hilarious article about the desperate search for a new “crisis”.

Now that Paris COP21 has “solved” the climate crisis, the search for new scare stories appears to have intensified. The plastics scare may be starting to pull ahead of the field of implausibly ridiculous alternatives.

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February 18, 2016 9:26 am

The marine pollution problem was on par with major challenges such as global warming and sea level rise? So you’re saying no problem at all.

Reply to  Art
February 18, 2016 10:30 am

There will be once the science teachers are retrained just as this recent Science article calls for on Climate Change.
No need for gulags. Noncompliant teachers have largely now lost tenure for just this reason of ensuring compliance with the official State vision for the future.

Reply to  Robin
February 18, 2016 5:57 pm

I love that word “UNDERFUNDED”. It usually comes with the modifier “CHRONICALLY”. In other words, it’s not just an occasional lapse in funding, it’s chronic! It’s like that pain in your back that just won’t go away. Have you ever heard of any government driven enterprise that was OVERFUNFDED? (My spell checker thought that was a typo!). Here! Mr. Minister. You gave us too much money. Please take it back and give it to the citizens in the form of a tax refund. (Sorry, I’m just dreaming here.)

Reply to  Robin
February 19, 2016 12:13 pm

Truly a scantily clad and nauseating propaganda effort. The last paragraph devolves to the statement: “Education efforts will need to draw on science communication research and acknowledge resistance to accepting the science and addressing its root causes.”
What? Oh yes, bring on waterboarding, pliers and clip-on power terminals to guarantee the desired result?
“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” Marcus Aurelius Augustus

February 18, 2016 9:35 am

Note that this story breaks on the heels of several companies announcing marine clean-up robots to address exactly this issue. Follow the money. I’m sure we’ll find this guy is in the pay of Big Robot.

Reply to  Epobirs
February 18, 2016 1:23 pm


Tom Halla
February 18, 2016 9:40 am

Is there something about plastics that prevent the shearwaters from vomiting something iindigestible? Something about this study does not really pass the smell test.

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 18, 2016 9:44 am

Don’t birds eat rocks to help with their digestion ?? What’s the difference ?

Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 1:50 pm

Marcus – my understanding of this issue is it’s due to plastics breaking down and becoming a fine silica? which can be ingested by many fish and mammals. Turtles eat plastic bags mistaking them for jelly fish. As a long time diver, this issue has become more noticeable over the years and the introduction, in the 70’s, of plastics that would breakdown was considered a good thing.
I would not put this in the same basket as climate hysteria and I believe it is something we should do.
I wonder how much that plastic is worth to recycle? There is a lot of it.

Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 5:39 pm

I’d agree. It’s not a massive threat to all life on Earth like it’s been made out to be, but it’s a genuine environmental issue that should be treated with respect.

Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 8:44 pm

My reply to Ardy about recycling plastic: I think it is worthwhile, because it is currently made from fossil fuels – which are limited. For that matter, many common plastics are hydrocarbons or compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and can be used as fuels.

Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 8:53 pm

As for birds eating rocks: Rocks help grind the foods that birds eat. Birds eat rocks for their gizzards to use, because birds don’t have teeth. Plastics don’t grind food as well as rocks do.
As for animals eating indigestible matter and retaining it: This does happen. Sharks have been found to have indigestible objects in their stomachs. Veterinarians often have to remove things from dogs’ stomachs.

Reply to  Marcus
February 19, 2016 4:57 am

Andy said, “this issue is it’s due to plastics breaking down and becoming a fine silica? ”
Plastic is not silica! What?
Plastics/ ocean teach pollution is mostly an undeveloped/poor country problem. The rest of the world has been doing very well in decreasing plastics reaching the sea. They do break down over time, as has been seen in Pacific Ocean studies and the non-existent Garbage Patch. Some plastics actually absorb chemicals harmful marine life and others become habitats for organisms. Over time microorganisms will arise that even eat plastics, just as fungi have developed that eat formica.

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 18, 2016 11:45 pm

“were dying from ingesting plastic or from plastic chemical contamination” – I wonder what experiments they performed to test this theory and how the results compared to the birds dying not *from* plastic ingestion, but whether they merely died *with* ingested plastic in them.
Birds eat rocks to use in the mechanical digestive process – maybe they absolutely love plastics in preference to the old fashioned stones. Plastics are lighter after all and all that flying stuff takes energy – why cart rocks when some modern new synthetics do the job just as well?. MY guess is the birds selected the plastic to eat.. I base this on my experience of trying to feed seagulls organic lettuce and aubergines.. they seem rather bright and refuse to eat either. Neither do they eat cigarette buts, lumps of iron or sticks and it strikes me that overall, these creatures are failing to live up to the human expectation that they are dumb, pea brained robots and in fact are capable of rational thought.
Something else strikes me about ‘rubbish’ – If a person digs up a rock then buries it again or throws it away, does this constitute ‘polluting’ ? If not then how can digging up mud that no one uses, turning it into bricks, using the bricks for a time before discarding them count as polluting the environment? Or a step further, digging up oil and turning it into a more stable form (plastic) before discarding it – how is this bad for the environment – I know many think it is, but I can’t see how. A lot of plastics are stable even though plenty of microbes consume them. OK it may be visually disturbing to humans to see brick rubble, plastics and rusting shopping carts lying around but in my experience ‘nature’ (other living things) cares not a jot about our rubbish, or alternatively leaps on it in delight as a food source. Visit any rubbish tip and you can smell the thriving life – all those rats, gulls.. the rot and stink a clear indication that bacteria and fungi are hard at it eating everything as quick as they can.
I think humans are very biased. I know from my early, less aware days when I participated in removing what we call rubbish from our shore lines that almost every bottle removed had to have all manner of organisms shaken free of their little homes and every bicycle frame carried a myriad clinging organisms to landfill somewhere to die.

Mike T
Reply to  Karl
February 19, 2016 1:59 am

Not all birds “eat rocks to aid in digestion”. I keep parrots and they do not eat grit, rocks, or any other form of “digestive aid”. They eat fruit and seeds which they dehull with their beaks. They will eat cuttlefish bone to increase calcium uptake. Chooks and pigeons on the other hand eat seed whole, and ingest grit which stays in their gizzard, to grind down those whole seeds.

Reply to  Karl
February 19, 2016 9:58 am

Mike I didn’t mean all birds, but as with parrots, I don’t expect many honeyeaters to be consuming either rocks or plastic. Many ground birds do however eat rocks or sand.

February 18, 2016 9:42 am

The greatest threat to Humankind is ” Liberal thinking ” ! ( is that an oxymoron ? )

Bryan A
Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 10:04 am

Only the Greatest oxy-moron evah

Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 10:12 am

..+ 1,000

G Mawer
Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 11:11 am

I think the greatest threat to mankind is the “Us against Them” mentality that pervades society. In politics it locks up government, In religion it causes wars. In sports/teams it causes fights, and in science it causes all of the above!

Owen in GA
Reply to  G Mawer
February 18, 2016 11:56 am

Governments should be locked up (in both senses). It is when they are “accomplishing something” that freedom dies.

Reply to  G Mawer
February 18, 2016 12:30 pm

+10…..I agree with your assessment. I can hardly believe how everything has become so polarized over the last several decades, in particular.

Pete W
Reply to  G Mawer
February 18, 2016 1:08 pm

I agree with that 100%. I’m tired of the ridiculous “liberal” bashing on this site. Stop the juvenile name calling and keep things within the realms of science and decorum.

Reply to  G Mawer
February 18, 2016 2:09 pm

Here here! Astute observation.

Reply to  G Mawer
February 18, 2016 2:28 pm

No…in science it doesn’t cause anything. There is no “us against them” in science. Science is pure, the persuit of truth, whether you agree with your findings or not. The goal is to REACH scientific findings, not to beat the other guy.
Faux scientists who engage in “Us against them” strategies and tactics are not scientists, plain and simple.

Reply to  G Mawer
February 18, 2016 6:54 pm

Pete W
“I’m tired of the ridiculous “liberal” bashing on this site. Stop the juvenile name calling and keep things within the realms of science and decorum.”
It’s impossible NOT to involve politics when debating CAGW because CAGW is a political phenomenon, not a physical one….
From a scientific perspective, CAGW is already a disconfirmed hypothesis. PERIOD! (TM).
As long as Leftists push the already disconfirmed CAGW political agenda, taxpayers will be forced by governments to waste $10’s of trillions of their hard-earned money on something that doesn’t exist….
Leftists openly admit to using the CAGW scam to implement worldwide wealth redistribution and to establish a world government through the auspices of the UN to address the fictitious CAGW polical agenda..
It’s impossible to limit the CAGW debate to scientific reality because Alarmists simply “adjust” the raw empirical data, and keep moving the goal posts, in order to prolong the CAGW political scam for as long as they can get away with it..

Jane Timberlake
Reply to  G Mawer
February 19, 2016 8:14 am

Thanks for this comment! I’m a social liberal who’s also a lukewarmer. Why do commenters want to antagonize potential allies by snidely insulting people who might be interested in finding hope for the future of the kids of the world? It’s very clear to me that peiople won’t quit driving and heating and manufacturing stuff, etc. etc., while waiting indefinitely for practical renewables providing uninterrupted power to the grid. Do we really need to be saved from what so far seems to be mostly a huge blessing, a slightly warmer and agriculturally thriving world?

Reply to  G Mawer
February 20, 2016 2:50 pm

Pete, Jane, and others,
I suggest you define what you mean by ‘liberal’, because as far as I can tell it means very different things to different people.

Jane Timberlake
Reply to  G Mawer
February 21, 2016 9:06 am

JohnKnight asked those of us who consider ourselves social liberals to define what we mean by the term liberal. There’s a spectrum on both sides, or at least there used to be, so here’s what I consider a very good website about the general differences in worldviews. I’m probably on the conservative side of liberal, but America’s traditional enthusiasm for war is especially problematic for me, so many complete innocents maimed and slaughtered. Here’s a good website that lays out predictable differences between liberals and conservatives, and keep in mind that climate change is about what’s happening in the physical world, not about what we sould or shouldn’t do about social issues.

February 18, 2016 9:47 am

Well plastic (and other such debris) may be “harmless” but I still don’t like the crap scattered here and yon. So oddly I don’t have a lot of resentment to some focus in this area. One of the worst is so called biodegradable plastic, which takes practically forever to breakdown into a small enough size to not see and making it impossible to reclaim or pickup in the process and even then it’s still there.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  BFL
February 18, 2016 8:25 pm

So… when you say, “…some focus in this area.”…
1. Does this mean you’re going to spend YOUR money focusing on this area, or does that mean you want to spend MY money focusing in this area?
2. Are you talking privately funded focus in this area, or government (coercive) focus on this area?
3. If you are thinking a US federally funded program of some sort that focuses in this area, can you tell me which of the 18 things the US federal government is authorized to do in the US Constitution it would be authorized under?
I’m truly wanting some clarification. Thanks in advance.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
February 19, 2016 9:03 am


February 18, 2016 9:49 am

So now the environmentalists have elevated themselves to garbage collectors. More in line with their intellect.

February 18, 2016 9:52 am

He also suggested plastic bottle caps and lids be permanently attached to their containers to cut down on waste entering waterways.

Good thing I wasn’t sipping coffee when I read that one.
Hey, where is all this plastic coming from? Is it coming from developing countries because they don’t have the infrastructure or power grid to do proper waste disposal?

Bryan A
Reply to  mpcraig
February 18, 2016 10:08 am

I believe that most of what is found in the ocean is either from Careless boaters who don’t secure their garbage (or floaties) in High wind situations and those who dump their garbage in the ocean to eliminate it.
Landfill garbage is much better.

Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 10:49 am

A lot of what is found the Pacific comes from the Phillipines, Malasia, and Indonesia where proper waste collection and recycling simply does not exist. All the recreational boaters in the world could not equal Manila alone.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 12:28 pm

Perhaps we should gather it all up, place it in Manila Envelopes, and send it all back

Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 1:26 pm

Sadly, Absolutely true.
The lack of civic pride in some of the world’s great cities is a crying shame.
Even in London there are (transient, usually) areas where litter agglomerates, or fly tipping becomes a burden.

Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 2:32 pm

I’ve been around boaters for most of my adult life, and I know of NO boaters who contribute to this. Are mistakes made?…certainly, but nothing compared with the garbage being dumped by third world countries who dump their trash in the oceans, as it’s the cheapest solution available to them.
That practice has taken place for years, including in industrialized nations, but it has fallen off drastically in those countries. NYC used to haul garbage barges out to sea…

Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 9:07 pm

One of the sources of plastic in oceans is litter. In Philadelphia, many people think they can use the street as a trash can. Much of this litter washes into sewers.
A somewhat separate issue is plastic bags, which blow away easily in a strong breeze, even when not littered. Plastic bags can blow away on a beach or a picnic site or the like once they are empty, even if their users were about to stash them somewhere on their way to proper disposal. Plastic bags even blow away from trash cans.
Another issue is plastic helium-filled balloons. Rubber ones are less of a problem (per ballon at least), but they also cause trouble to some sea animals.

February 18, 2016 9:54 am

Actually though it won’t kill us all, it is a problem. This stuff takes a very long while to breakdown and it causes issues with sea life. Although I’m not sure if windmills, solar concentrators or plastic kills more birds. Our fowl friends are either getting slashed from blades, burned to a crisp or starving to death due to plastic ingestion. Will there be any birds left for the children?
The issue is we have been bombarded for so long with climate doom articles and tv docu-dramas, I think we now tend to tune out anything that speaks of a need to fix some of these issues. I’ve been offshore in my sailboat and see debris floating by all the time.
And go to Long Beach CA where the Los Angeles river dumps tons of garbage into the bay. At least there they have boats with scoopers to clean a lot of it up.
Hopefully we can figure out a way to either manufacture plastics that biodegrade better or better control dumping. We will all benefit from it. But putting it on scale of a planet killer is a little overboard.

Reply to  rbabcock
February 18, 2016 12:49 pm

Love your take on it.

Kaiser Derden
Reply to  rbabcock
February 18, 2016 1:12 pm

some of the issues it causes is habitats for some sea life which helps the food chain … there are certainly negatives which there are more than a few while ignoring the positives of which there are several …
my bet is that those young seabirds where dying off at a 10% rate before plastics ever where invented …

Reply to  rbabcock
February 19, 2016 10:27 am

LA Cali, Cuidad Juarez MX, New Orleans, Rio DeJenero, Philadelphia PA, Mogadishu Somalia, Baltimore MA, and so on….
Like you said, Third World Countries

Robert Doyle
February 18, 2016 10:00 am

From the “way-back machine”, it appears those plastic bags can easily be recycled at 80% efficiency into diesel oil.
Nah, the scare is more useful.

February 18, 2016 10:02 am

The only solution possible:
All humans must die.

Reply to  Richard
February 18, 2016 10:55 am

Well yeah that is the point. That is their only solution to increasing global population. Adapting social, political, and economic conditions and further leveraging technology to manage the growth is not on their radar.
The “all humans must die” fall into two groups. Those that feel they should die along with everyone else for unforgivable sins against the planet and those that feel that the only humans who should die are those that disagree with their half-baked ideology.

Reply to  Richard
February 18, 2016 12:24 pm

NEWS ALERT: All humans WILL die.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  JimB
February 18, 2016 1:34 pm

It’s all about the timing. It’s a lot closer for some of us (I’m 72).

Reply to  JimB
February 18, 2016 2:37 pm

I recently stopped at a roadside stand to look at outdoor furniture.
A chair was $295. I commented that I found the price to be ridiculous, given that I could by a dozen decent outdoor chairs for that price. The own replied that the chairs came with a lifetime warranty, then nodded and said “That might not have as much value for you as it does for some of the younger folks.”
Way to sell it!!!

NW sage
Reply to  JimB
February 18, 2016 4:15 pm

And without the alert, we will still die. Right-On

February 18, 2016 10:02 am

The climate issue I’m definitely a critic of CAGW or AGW. Non degradable plastic I think is a problem. Plastics have a set of problems that are beyond just killings birds and marine life. Controlling the plastic that is entering the ocean is something that is both cost effective and doesn’t require much. In the early days of either warming the climate, or now cooling it, that was one of the ways that was suggested as to altering climate. Plastic does do something that is highly undesirable, estrogen mimics. I have to respectfully disagree.
What I’m afraid of is that the solutions are worse than the cure. The solutions these people come up with are anything but sane. CAGW is a perfect example of that. What would CAGW suggest IF global warming wasn’t caused by burning fossil fuels and the apparent catastrophic results were the same?

Reply to  rishrac
February 18, 2016 11:20 am

Litter is annoying whether it is on land or in the ocean, whether it is plastic or metal or paper.
Having traveled the third world, there is a huge issue even if we want to put our blinders on and ignore it. I never believed in CAGW but I have always believed that pollution control is necessary. Education is needed. I was taught carry in carry out from the time I could walk and I have 7 decades under my belt. I graduated with a Civil Engineering degree in Water and Pollution a very long time ago; I have a ranch background. I have had animals injured from people dumping waste on the land; I have rescued birds from those 6 pack plastic snares. I am a hunter and a fisherman so I am not a bleeding heart environmentalist but as far as I am concerned, anyone who throws out trash is a criminal. The fire season is about to start. Last year, many forest and prairie fires were started by people tossing cigarettes out of their cars. I have been on ships where garbage was dumped off the stern in the early hours of the morning so no one would see.
Waste management IS a problem. In the floating communities like Manila, the floating trash completely covers the water. In Hong Kong, the rivers used to run black from the dumping of printers ink into the sewers. It is better, but we need to do MUCH better. There are solutions such as paying poor for returning plastics to recycling centres but when a country can’t do that, it won’t happen.
When you are worrying about getting enough to eat, it is hard to think about trash and pollution. IMHO it is wrong to say it isn’t an issue.
For those who think it isn’t a problem, think about having trash dumped on your backyard.
I pick up trash all the time when I am out training my horses in the forest. I shouldn’t have to pick up other people’s trash. Why would anyone say it is OK?

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
February 18, 2016 12:22 pm


Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
February 18, 2016 2:07 pm

Just to lighten things up a bit – the film is 50 years old so the quality isn’t the best – we did this because people were littering the beach. We got their attention leaving the dummy hanging and the “Litterbug” sign on the post:

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
February 18, 2016 2:13 pm

Correction – wrong link in first post. Sorry
Just to lighten things up a bit – the film is 50 years old so the quality isn’t the best – we did this because people were littering the beach. We got their attention leaving the dummy hanging and the “Litterbug” sign on the post:

Jay Hope
Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
February 18, 2016 2:31 pm

I agree with everything you have said, Wayne. The same people who think trash isn’t a problem would not like that trash on their doorsteps. But the more people there are on this planet means there will be, sadly, much more trash. It’s getting worse all the time.

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
February 18, 2016 5:18 pm

My thoughts exactly.

Michael Carter
Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
February 18, 2016 6:34 pm

Wayne – 5 years working in poor African and Asian countries here as an environmental engineer. Plastic is the scourge of these nations. Drainage and sewage systems are commonly blocked with the stuff in slums multiplying disease risk. Entire waterways and foreshores are a mass of plastic bags as are market places in many locations. I have seen many trees decorated by windblown bags in really remote desert communities. I really wish it were banned for food packaging everywhere

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
February 19, 2016 3:57 am

I agree in part. When I bought my house 25 years back it had a nice tidy back lawn and a couple of trees. Occasionally I’d see a sullen cat wandering about but that was all the visitors we had. I planted it up and in time it has become a nicely shaded garden with a few visiting birds – but things really took off when I laid down a few sheets of old tin around the place. All of a sudden I had mice and bobtails. I added piles of bricks, broken pots and some broken up pipe and the lizard population exploded. Discarding the internals of an old couch brought dozens more birds, New Holland honey eaters this time who used the lining to build nests. I pile lawn clippings up along with rotten wood and I’ve so many mealworms the ibis have started visiting along with the mudlarks to poke through the pile. The willywagtails have taken to pulling apart an old fiberglass mat to add to their nests (they’ve plenty of spider webs to choose from but they like the fiberglass.. Rats help themselves to our mandarin tree now and happily live in the back shed.
Plants refused to grow in a particularly hot spot beside the driveway no matter how much mulch I added or how frequently I watered so I tried replicating the success story I read of in Israel and it worked – a good thick coating of old engine oil did the trick nicely.. holding the moisture below the surface and preventing evaporation. I even had success laying old plastic bags around another spot, water was retained both in and below the bags and while mosquitoes could be bothersome, tipping the water out every few days does the trick – though the frogs that have settled in among the bags have seen tadpoles develop and get stuck in to the mozzies.
The front yard is classically pretty, but the backyard with all the mess is the one thriving with life. Sure rats and mice and ibis, roaches and bobtail lizards might be considered vermin or pests to some, but I’d be pretty arrogant to think that – I’m sure all those little critters feelings would be hurt if I told them ..
One mans rubbish as they say.

Reply to  rishrac
February 20, 2016 11:03 pm

I recall seeing a photo in National Geographic magazine about 15-20 years ago showing supposedly “biodegradable” newspapers and hot dogs, among other “biodegradables” looking as fresh as the day they were placed in the landfill.
So plastic is evidently not the bad guy it’s made out to be.

Reply to  Rascal
February 21, 2016 4:26 am

What?? The biodegradable people lied to us?? Just think, in a thousand years some archaeologist will discover a treasure trove of dirty diapers.

Bryan A
February 18, 2016 10:02 am

W.O.W. just look at ALL that Fossil Carbon, Locked up forever in Plastic. What a Fantastic Fossil Carbon Sink.

Bryan A
February 18, 2016 10:10 am

I like how California has eliminated the dispensing of Plastic Grocery Bags and allowed for the Charging of 10 cents each for Paper Bags. (not)
Does it make sense to not allow for Plastic Grocery Bags to take home your Plastic Sandwich Bags and Plastic Trash Bags??

Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 10:14 am

Just more Oxy-Moronic “Liberal Thinking”

Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 11:05 am

Liberal Thinking =>
I have a whole lot of solutions … Now I just need to find the appropriate problem(s) to which they can be applied.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
Reply to  Bryan A
February 18, 2016 3:50 pm

In our house we recycle 100% of plastic bags we receive. Some are used three or four times depending on the application. Leaf litter and trimmings go into heavy paper bags and is composted at the Waterloo dump. The final product is free for the taking by truck or trailer. Metals, plastics and glass are separated at source and recycled. Paints and oils are recycled separately. Bicycles are collected at the dump site and sent to school bike programmes. Some furniture is resold. Some clean construction and destruction waste is hammer-milled, de-nailed and sold as biofuel. Dump methane is collected. One day the digested dump can be burned in a suitable high temperature power station with flue gas metal capture, for sale.
None of this is done in the name of CAGW. It is does because it is a responsible and economically beneficial way to manage our effluent streams. BTW Waterloo gets more than 80% of its water from underground so it is a watershed protection area. Most of the local farming is organic and always has been. Local markets require that the produce be sourced within 50 km if it is available in season. Some city buses are hybrids. Light rail is being installed now. Small community parks are everywhere, wildlife abounds even in the city. There are in-city bicycle paths in many places, avoiding the roads.
There is no reason for Manila to permit the dumping of garbage into the waterways. Eliminating 1% of tender corruption would pay for thousands of people to work on collection and recycling.
We sleep in the beds we make.

Reply to  Bryan A
February 19, 2016 9:32 am

I remember when California eliminated paper grocery bags in favor of plastic, because the plastic bags were better for the environment…

Reply to  Bryan A
February 20, 2016 11:07 pm

If you’re old enough and still have your wits, you’ll remember that plastic bags were originally introduced to replace paper bags!
Save the trees was the rationale.
Unintended consequence?

Stephen Wilde
February 18, 2016 10:16 am

Are wind turbines made of a sort of non recyclable non biodegradeable plasticky material ?
Green ‘solutions’ often result in a cure worse than the initial problem.

Reply to  Stephen Wilde
February 18, 2016 10:37 pm

I don’t get it..
They are worried about a few sea birds, but not at all concern about the huge numbers of eagles etc killed by wind turbines. !!

Jim A.
February 18, 2016 10:17 am

“A seabird common to Australia is being killed by marine plastic pollution at the alarming rate of one in 10, a Senate inquiry has been told.”
I was once told of a man in a red suit who delivered gifts to everyone once a year. That also turned out to be false. Many things are told, the telling doesn’t make them truths. 🙂

Reply to  Jim A.
February 18, 2016 10:28 am

Everything is relative. How does that rate of bird death measure against the rate of bird death at a typical wind farm?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
February 18, 2016 3:51 pm

Hoyt, we can prevent both by removing both causes.

February 18, 2016 10:28 am

Got curious about this and did some research. Lavers has been banging on about this since 2005. The Lord Howe Island population has been in decline. Number 1 problem is long line fisheries bycatch around eastern Australia during summer breeding season (yellowfin tuna, billfish), and drift net bycatch (albacore, squid, shrimp, salmon) in the north pacific around Japan and along the Pacific northwest where the birds migrate during the SH winter. Number two problem is roadkill on Lord Howe Island. These seabirds are quite clumsy on land, and Lord Howe Island is developing.
Found an unpaywalled 2013 PLOS study reporting complete census in 2002-3 and 2008-9 to estimate decline of the Lord Howe population. In the latter period, ~27300 breeding burrows, one mated pair per. ~0.39 chicks/ burrow (at most 1 egg is laid/yr in this species), ~10600 chicks. Why so low not known. Breeding success (chicks matured and joined the seasonal migration) ~0.6.
That means ~ 40% of the chicks, or about 4250, did not make it. Lavers says 11% of the chicks die from ingested plastic. That means 29% die of something else. Like starvation if parents become bycatch or roadkill.
Ocean plastic waste is NOT the biggest threat facing this shearwater species. Fishing and land development are.
Dr. Lavers likening ocean plastic waste to as big a problem as global warming was apt. But not in the way she meant. Turns out neither is factually a big problem.

Reply to  ristvan
February 18, 2016 11:04 am

Thank you for doing the research and clearing the hyperbole up with facts.
You show that even taking Layers at his word and giving him the 11%, his claims remain specious. However I do not take him at his word since there is no explanation and accompanying proof of how the plastic kills the birds.

Mike T
Reply to  ristvan
February 18, 2016 6:06 pm

I’d suggest, having lived briefly on Lord Howe Island, that roadkill has a minor effect on shearwater numbers. The length of roads on the island isn’t that great, and the speed limit is 25km/hr. I do recall seeing a few dead shearwaters on the road, but hardly vast numbers, and they’re seasonal. I lived on another island which had shearwaters nesting on, and some fatalities there seemed to be from birds crashing into trees in fog.

Reply to  ristvan
February 18, 2016 9:21 pm

If 11% of the chicks die from ingested plastic and 29% die from all other causes including two other manmade problems, then I think the plastic ingestion issue is important. I think it is important even though the two other manmade problems (part and not all of the non-plastic 29%) may also be important.

February 18, 2016 10:36 am

59 different plastic items totaling 17.9 Kg was found in a dead 10 meter sperm whale off the coast of Spain. Autopsy found plastic impacted in it’s ruptured 1st stomach & suggests that compounded whale’s starvation.
(2012)”As main meal for sperm whales: plastic debris off Almeria, Spain” is available on-line as full free pdf. Table 2 details autopsy plastic contents as including: greenhouse cover, flower pot, hose pipe, plastic burlap, rope, plastic mulch, dishwasher plastic, hanger, mattress, plastic carafe, spray plastic po, ice cream tub, bag & small plastic.
I wonder if some of the article’s dead seabirds are dying from impacted ruptures & not from
any toxicity related to ingested plastic based on the forensic example of the cited sperm whale in the Med.

Reply to  gringojay
February 18, 2016 10:54 am

..Birds eat small gravel stones and that doesn’t kill them !

Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 1:08 pm

Grit is not malleable whereas plastic can be malleable. For instance humans can spit out grit, stones & hard seeds from our mouths. I know that sometimes the best way to get a scrap of plastic that got into my mouth with food is to remove the piece somehow with my fingers & give up trying to eject it like would a seed. When more than 1piece of plastic is in my mouth they inadvertently get mashed together before extracted. Birds probably can’t extract ingested plastic so it risks aggregation into a mass; whereas small stones are grit surfaces food can grind against – but not likely perfect for grinding up plastic.

Jay Hope
Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 2:33 pm

Go and learn something about birds, Marcus!

Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 4:15 pm

Bones,stones, seeds, pips, fibre, that’s what anuses are for, the indigestibles. Why is plastic different?

Reply to  Marcus
February 18, 2016 9:16 pm

Hi Wrusssr, – That Seralini study used Wistar albino rats like the newer Turkish study; but you may not know 80% normally develop tumors. Website linked “Inst. Responsible Tech” sounds like it might be aligned with Seralini’s “Network Environmental Responsibility” & your other link “Natural News” gives another Seralini site as it’s source.
6 separate French national academies (Ag., Med.,Pharm.,Science,Tech., & Vet.) issued a joint communique rejecting that Seralini tumor study methodology. You might be interested to know Seralini never published pictures of the control rats. More remarkable is that : “… High levels of GMO corn & high levels of roundup both reduced spontaneous mortality & pushed back the onset of death in male rats … (&) …. being exposed to more f the substance should resultin more cases of cancer …” but this was not the case. (Quote adapapted from Univ. Adelaide’s Ian Musgrave.)

Reply to  gringojay
February 18, 2016 12:52 pm

Gringo – About the whales . . . series of experiments run by British researchers who dumped natural corn and genetically modified corn side-by-side in separate hog troughs and found they pigs wouldn’t touch the GM’d corn, given the choice. Same results in the wild with deer, etc. Whales are smart. They’ll wise up. Don’t despair. And don’t forget sharks eat life jackets and all and have been found with license plates, etc. in their stomachs. Plastic islands will give them something to graze on when times are tough.

Reply to  Wrusssr
February 18, 2016 3:11 pm

Wrusser just how did the deer and hogs come up with this sensitivity since corn is a New World discovery for modern agriculture…. ALL corn is genetically modified from Aztec maize and didn’t even exist in the old world five hundred years ago.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
Reply to  Wrusssr
February 18, 2016 4:00 pm

fossilage: right on. Further, those pigs are genetically modified hugely by centuries of breeding, and are European in origin. Corn is not a European crop to begin with. If the basis of their experiment was sound, the pigs should have refused to eat corn at all, not recognising it as food.
The idea that genetically modified corn is rejected is silly. A retired American genetic breeding genius created high lysine maize with a long shelf life in Ghana (translucent kernels). Their demonstration of effectiveness was to go to a village and raise two pigs: one on regular corn and one on the carefully modified high lysine version. The regular corn pig was about 1/2 the size after 8 weeks because its nutrition was balanced.

Reply to  Wrusssr
February 18, 2016 4:39 pm

Hi Wrusssr, – (2013) “GMOs in Animal Agriculture”, published by the Journal of Animal Science & Biotechnology” is available on-line as free full text & among other aspects includes a section on “Animal Preference Studies.” It references a study of 16 steers grazing on both genetic engineered & non-genetic engineered corn residues for 50 days. Apparently those steers showed no preference in respect to which category they chomped on. Possibly more significantly that study (following reference #110) points out that the genetic lineage of a corn hybrid has more relevance to it’s optimal utility than whether it has been genetically modified regarding a Bt trait.

Reply to  Wrusssr
February 18, 2016 7:28 pm
Reply to  Wrusssr
February 18, 2016 9:25 pm

Wrusssr , I tried to reply to your 7:28 entry but seems I’ve lodged it above your 12:52 entry so
posting this message for orientation.

Reply to  gringojay
February 18, 2016 9:35 pm

Gringo – Thanks for the heads up.

John Robertson
February 18, 2016 10:42 am

Yet during the search for Malaysian Jet, forgot # still missing, the satellites were redirected to scan the Unwatched areas.
Yet no floating island(The size of Texas,or so we are told) of plastic showed up.
Now with all my contempt toward the enviro-nasties, I doubt plastic washed into the sea is doing much good.
But practical action to prevent/remove this real pollution will not be helped by the screeching of our current PC eco-alarmists.
No-one will believe them and none will willingly ally with them to act.
This is the damage the hysteria and hypocrisy of the environment movements current leaders have inflicted upon their cause.

February 18, 2016 10:58 am
February 18, 2016 11:01 am

I do think that this is a problem. Trash is always a problem, particularly non-biodegradable trash. I don’t think we should make fun of someone raising this issue.

Reply to  Madman2001
February 18, 2016 11:55 am

Taking care of our trash is important. Claiming it is killing this or that and making wild-ass accusatory claims is malarkey. Pointing out anyone spreading malarkey is the same thing as taking care of our trash.

Reply to  Madman2001
February 18, 2016 12:46 pm

. . . researchers need to go on down the rabbit hole a bit further and ban tsunamis. Did you know the ancestors carved and put up stones along Japan’s coasts that say “. . . don’t build your house any closer to the coastline than these stones. . .”? Or words to that effect. Still there. Agree with the trash problem. Paris revelers will see it as an invincible boogeyman and endless money trough, though.

Jay Hope
Reply to  Madman2001
February 18, 2016 2:36 pm

Yeah, you’re right, Madm. 2001. Trash is a huge problem.

February 18, 2016 11:07 am

Let us not forget the excellent story on WUWT by Kip Hanson on the fake plastic scare.

Reply to  J
February 18, 2016 1:02 pm

97% of the commenters here seemed to have missed this evaluation by Kip. Check it out.

Reply to  J
February 18, 2016 8:27 pm

excellent point J

michael hart
February 18, 2016 11:29 am

Floating twigs and matchsticks are also indigestible and don’t degrade very fast either.
But there are even worse things:
“Unauthorised trousers kill Canadian zoo’s otter”

Reply to  michael hart
February 18, 2016 9:34 pm

Most critters that can’t digest twigs have evolved to not find them appetizing. Wooden matchsticks were never as common as cardboard matches, let alone twigs. Cardboard matches soften up after being soaked, and in any case they have become a lot less common now that we have cheap butane lighters. Butane lighters, matches and cigarette butts would stop contributing to the litter stream if everyone quits smoking.

February 18, 2016 11:32 am

When is Climate Hustle being released?

February 18, 2016 12:17 pm

Reminds me of the protest near Seattle, where the greenies IN THEIR PLASTIC CANOES tried to prevent repositioning of a deep-sea drilling rig from the arctic.Folks of high morals!

Reply to  JimB
February 19, 2016 9:17 pm

Plastic canoes, especially in the hands “green” types, tend not to join litter.

Tom in Florida
February 18, 2016 12:22 pm

“Dr Lavers said although the scale of the marine pollution problem was on par with major challenges such as global warming and sea level rise, research was chronically underfunded.”
Now if I were to take the comment based on facts and if marine pollution is truly on a par with global warming and sea level rise, then there is not much to worry about.
But we all know there is an ocean pollution problem with real pollutants so no need to fund research. We need to fund the clean up. I propose a summit next winter, somewhere nice and warm with 5 star accommodations, to enter into a global pact to make the real polluters, the less developed nations of the third world, pay the rest of us $$$$$ to clean up their mess. Of course I should attend with all expenses paid as the originator of the idea.
Maybe we can even set up a pollution credit market to buy and sell credits so that bigger polluters can buy unused credits from lesser polluters.

Jane Timberlake
February 18, 2016 12:27 pm
The Laysan albatross population increased from an estimated 18,000 pairs in 1923 to 590,000 pairs in 2005. The large population increase during the past 83 years is likely a response to the end of persecution by feather hunters, decrease in conflicts with military activities, and an increase in nesting areas at some colonies. Analysis of linear trends in the population showed a positive change over 1923 to 2005 and 1957 to 2005 and a stable size from 1992 to 2005. PVA results for the Laysan albatross colony on French Frigate Shoals indicate that this colony is currently stable, but there is a 28-percent probability of the population decreasing by 24 percent over the next 60 years. PVA results for the Laysan Island colony indicate that the colony is most likely to increase in size over the next 60 years, but there also is a 45-percent probability of the colony decreasing in size. PVA was not conducted for Midway Atoll due to the small sample size. Matrix modeling results indicate that the Laysan albatross population, summed across all three colonies (Midway Atoll, Laysan Island, and French Frigate Shoals), increased 6.7 percent per year from 1992 to 2005, and the estimated bycatch of 2,500 birds per year is less than the estimated Potential Biological Removal (PBR—the maximum number of mortalities, not including natural deaths, while maintaining an optimum sustainable population).

February 18, 2016 12:42 pm

Then there is this from WWI and WWII governments using the ocean as a dump site:
“The best guess is that at least 31 million pounds of bombs were dumped, but that could be a very conservative estimate. “These were all kinds of bombs, from land mines to the standard military bombs, also several types of chemical weapons,”
“in 2010, commercial fishermen pulled munitions from the Atlantic while dredging for clams off Long Island, New York. Two crew members were hospitalized after a black tarry substance oozed from the weapons. In 2012, workers found a 75 millimeter artillery shell at a clam processing plant in Delaware. A munitions disposal team identified mustard agent in the armament. No one received injuries in the incident. When an artillery shell turned up in a Delaware driveway paved with crushed clamshells, two members of a U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal team received chemical burns. One serviceman was hospitalized with large, pus-filled blisters on his hands and arms. Analysis of the shells identified the chemical
culprit as sulfur mustard. In Italy, more than 200 fishermen were hospitalized between 1946 and 1966 after catching chemical-weapons agents in their nets.”
While sea life no doubt does well on the not leaking containers, any sea life at all including swimmers would be quite surprised when near a leaking one. Of course I’m sure that many would consider any investigations in this area would be a waste of time and money also.

February 18, 2016 1:53 pm

BBC World Service Radio is running the following multiple times at present:
15 Feb: BBC “More or Less”: Leo Hornak: Will there be more fish or plastic in the sea in 2050?
The prediction was made by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum, in a report called The New Plastics Economy, which looks at the amount of plastic that ends up in the sea.
It got a lot of coverage in the press, including the Guardian, the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph, among others…
The report acknowledges that it is difficult to be precise. For the plastics, it refers back to a study led by Prof Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia, published last year…
But to estimate how much of this plastic then ends up in the sea, the study examines just one area – San Francisco Bay. “If that’s not representative of the rest of the globe then you can see the potential for large deviations in this calculation,” says Prof Callum Roberts from the University of York…
When asked by the BBC about its numbers the Ellen MacArthur foundation sent a document titled Background To Key Statistics, and issued a new version of the report – published on 29 January – both of which contain new figures (none of the authors of the report were available for interview for this story). The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s updated figure for fish in the sea in 2050 is roughly 899 million tonnes.
But it also increases its estimate for the amount of plastic in the ocean in 2050 to between 850 million and 950 million tonnes, or about 25% more than originally predicted…
But here is the real problem. Counting fish is a tricky business – they are slippery blighters…
15 Feb: WSMoreOrLess: Fishy numbers?
There were reports recently that there will more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. The report comes from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. But as we discover there’s something fishy about these figures.

February 18, 2016 3:06 pm

The money quote, literally: “research was chronically underfunded”.

February 18, 2016 3:36 pm

I cut any and all possible loops out of my 6-pack plastic beverage rings before discarding them.
Ain’t no critters wearing my plastic.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
Reply to  u.k(us)
February 18, 2016 4:05 pm

A simple design change would suffice: make the rings so they have to be broken to get the cans out.

February 18, 2016 4:01 pm

WSJ had a graphic one time showing source of ocean plastic. U.S. contributed around 1%. This is a 3rd world problem.

February 18, 2016 4:08 pm

Here is the link. U.S. contributes 0.3%.

February 18, 2016 4:24 pm

Back when I was in the Navy stationed on the USS John F Kennedy, we would dump trash at sea off the port quarter. After a while of trash dumping, one could see a trail of garbage floating on the sea to the horizon. Sometimes if a Soviet ship was tailing us they would collect some for intelligence purposes. I often wonder if it was greenpeace in disguise trying saving the world, don’t greenpeace ships have a sickle and hammer on the ship’s stack? I enjoyed watching the F-14s strafe the trash. Hearing the Vulcan roar was awesome. What better way to ensure the trash would sink?

Reply to  PhotoPete
February 19, 2016 9:30 pm

I thought from what I read in the 1980s (maybe 1990s?) was that floating trash (such as unbroken light bulbs) should not be dumped into the sea from US Navy warships, because such jetsam could help enemies find the ships that dumped it. Or as I think, also to determine roughly where the ships recently were.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
February 22, 2016 6:11 pm

This was back in the late 70s. I don’t know how the Navy handles its trash today.

Gary Pearse
February 18, 2016 4:25 pm

The photo of plastic is river and coastal plastic washed out of towns in rain, I believe, in Philippines. The Third World needs help and awareness to resolve their waste management problems. This photo gets trotted regularly with this kind of story – dishonesty among greens is pandemic. The legendary big patch of ocean plastic is largely invisible because it reduces down to ~1mm or so in size naturally. Ultimately all plastic is biodegradable.
Okay, I got that out of the way. Now I can say that no informed considerate person would condone chucking waste into the ocean or anywhere not designed for receiving waste. I’d venture to say that not one of the responders on this site, catastrophist or realist, are happy with this state of affairs. In this problem, we spend all our time shouting at the wrong people.

Sean Staplin
February 18, 2016 5:39 pm

I think this is one of the issues that is getting thrown under the bus for the AGW hysteria.

February 18, 2016 10:34 pm

Obvious solution.
Go and scoop the stuff up, and make wind turbine blades or solar panels out of it !

February 19, 2016 2:44 am

I love the line from Laurie David in the Morano link:
“Our bodies have evolved to handle carbon dioxide, the nemesis of global warming, indeed, we exhale it with every breath.”
Wowee, this guy is good!
The other reference worthy of note is this: “It now has the attention of the beleaguered head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra Pachauri.”
He was beleaguered then because of the Himalayan Glaciers, he is beleaguered again now because Himalayan where he didn’t ought to, or certainly tried to. He is facing charges of sexual harassment and the charge sheet runs to 500 pages.

February 19, 2016 6:17 am

What did the White man ever do for us?

Frederik Michiels
February 22, 2016 6:02 am

i honestly would find it better to see all the money spent in climate change to be shifted to clean up the plastics out of the oceans.
the first is a research to nothing, the second will give us at least a cleaner ocean, which is a REAL and beneficial result.
i’ve always given more importance to real pollution and plastics are real pollution. i always say “if the money spent into the IPCC would be spent to clean up the oceans, they would have been cleaned up 20 times by now, which would have contributed to a cleaner environment.

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