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EIA Oceans Campaign blog ...
Stemming the tide of plastic bags choking the world’s oceans
True horror lies not in crumbling Gothic graveyards or the trappings of midnight movies but in the disturbing implications of mundane things. Having spent years researching the impacts of marine debris and long hours looking at pictures of creatures with plastic clogging their stomachs, now when I stand in a supermarket queue and see an endless tide of plastic bags flow from the checkouts to the world beyond all I can think about is where those bags are going to end up.
The plastic bag has become a symbol of our throwaway culture, a visual blight on our landscape littering roadsides, choking waterways and polluting oceans (in which it is just one of many types of marine debris). It is a key example of the failure to accord plastic the real value of its negative impacts, which is reflected in wanton consumption and disposal patterns: non-degradable, rarely recycled and of no cost to consumers, plastic bags are widely disposed of after just a few minutes use. What’s more, the very same properties that have made them commercially successful – their low weight and resistance to degradation – contribute to their accumulation in the environment.
n the UK, the number of plastic bags used by supermarket customers has been rising since 2009, reaching an estimated 8.3 billion in 2013. Research by Surfrider Europe found that plastic bags were the third most common type of litter on European beaches, lakes and rivers, and it is estimated that eight billion bags litter Europe every year. Once loose in the marine environment, the impacts on marine life are drastic and troubling as plastics both entangle and are ingested by wildlife, causing disease and death. For example, over 90 per cent of dead fulmars that are examined are now found to have plastic in their stomachs, and Ocean Conservancy reports that over the past 25 years, 10 per cent of animals found dead in beach clean-ups were entangled in plastic bags.
... Some may question why our focus should be on banishing plastic bags, since they are not necessarily the most damaging or prevalent litter type. However, the answer is simple: because we can. It is the low-hanging fruit in tackling plastic pollution, and with the success of bans and levies on single-use bags already widely demonstrated it is an effective and achievable first step in addressing the issue of plastic waste.
Read the blog in full at eia-international.org/stemming-the-tide-of-plastic-bags-choking-the-worlds-oceans
#oceans #plastic #plasticbags #marinedebris
Image: Dolphin and plastic bag (c) Globice ... See MoreSee Less
3 hours ago ·
Good blog by J.A. Mills ...
Does China’s president know the truth about tigers and rhinos?
Surely China’s President Xi Jinping would not support the commodification of tigers and rhinos if he knew all the facts.
What stands in the way of his enlightenment is the State Forestry Administration (SFA), which is his staff’s go-to ministry on the issue. And the SFA has a conflict of interest. It’s giving its all to enforcing China’s 1980s-vintage Wildlife Protection Law, which literally calls for the “domestication” and “utilization” of a long list of endangered species so China will have strategic reserves of them and their parts and products. But here’s the pivotal thing: Significant factors have changed since that law came into effect in 1986. Most importantly, the mainstream traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) industry does not need or want tiger bone and rhino horn anymore. The industry decided years ago that it wanted to go global, which was not going to happen in a big way if its practitioners continued to consume rare wild species the world adores. It was a solid strategic business decision.
So now China has, on the one hand, 6,000 tigers in SFA-supported battery farms with wineries brewing a fortune in tiger-bone wines. It also is trying to buy up South Africa’s rhino horn stocks, while simultaneously starting to farm more with founder stock of 121 rhinos sent to China by South Africa. None of this would make sense unless the SFA intends to see China’s 1993 ban on trade in tiger bone and rhino horn lifted.
On the other hand, Chinese news media recently reported that 35 delegates of the National People’s Congress are calling for revision of the Wildlife Protection Law within this year ...
Read the blog in full at jamillsauthor.com/2015/03/does-chinas-president-know-the-truth-about-tigers-and-rhinos/
#China #tigers #rhino
Image: Captive tiger, Gulin, China, 2011 (c) EIA ... See MoreSee Less
4 hours ago ·
South Africa: ‘No silver bullet’ in views on rhino trade
Botswana – From burning the billion-rand stockpile of rhino horn to sending military special forces into Mozambique to battle criminal syndicates and turning rhino poachers into farmers, it seems everyone had their own solution to saving South Africa’s rhinos from extinction.
Crammed into a small, dark room in Boksburg, where most of those present were clad in khaki, pro-trade advocates and their anti-trade counterparts shredded each other’s arguments in an often-fractured debate about whether South Africa should petition international conservation authorities to reopen the controversial trade in rhino horn.
They were among the rhino owners, economists, government representatives, and members of conservation and animal welfare organisations who attended the three-day workshop hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs on the feasibility of trade in rhino horn.
* Greed beats logic: why a legal rhino horn trade won’t work - eia-international.org/greed-beats-logic-why-a-legal-rhino-horn-trade-wont-work
If the 21-member committee – which has drawn criticism for being weighted towards the pro-trade argument – gives the go-ahead to trade, the government could table a formal proposal at next year’s meeting in South Africa of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). For the proposal to be adopted, two thirds of Cites delegates would need to vote in favour of it.
Full story at www.iol.co.za/scitech/science/environment/no-silver-bullet-in-views-on-rhino-trade-1.1838786#.VRk...
Image: Rhino mother and young (c) EIA ... See MoreSee Less
5 hours ago ·